Yellowknife

Council approves YK’s municipal enforcement priorities


Yellowknife’s municipal enforcement division has been told to focus on downtown presence, collaboration, and enforcement of bylaws related to unsightly land and parking.

In the final list of bylaw officers’ priorities for the year ahead, a previously included commitment to “professionalism in enforcement” was deleted.

Earlier in the month, city councillors had questioned why professionalism was considered a priority and not simply a standard feature of the job.

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An inquiry related to allegations of workplace harassment dating to 2014 has increased scrutiny of practices at Yellowknife’s municipal enforcement division.

Staff told councillors professionalism was listed as a priority to “support the refresh of municipal enforcement after some staff transitions, some changes internally, and some gaps in service.”

Councillors weren’t convinced and asked for that priority to be deleted.

The final list of municipal enforcement’s strategic priorities for 2020-21 includes:

  • regular outreach, planning, and coordination with partner agencies to facilitate effective collaboration on enforcement areas of common interest;
  • continued presence in the downtown area, on multi-use trails, and at City recreation facilities and public events as appropriate;
  • enforcement of unsightly lands;
  • enforcement of unauthorized parking; and
  • strategies for more consistency in areas of reactive enforcement.

Councillor Shauna Morgan convinced colleagues to add the last priority back to the list. It had been a stated priority in previous years.

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“With all of the upheaval [at the municipal enforcement division, which has had several managers in the recent past], I’m not aware we made much progress on that,” Morgan said.

“Unsightly lands and unauthorized parking … the overall principle behind those kinds of reactive enforcement cases is we need to see patterns and be more consistent in our enforcement.

“I think it would be helpful to put that forward again as our priority, in terms of a way of operating that would vastly improve our enforcement across the city.”

Councillors also deleted a priority regarding road safety. The priorities regarding unsightly land and parking came after Mayor Rebecca Alty said they were the most common subjects raised by residents.

“The top three complaints I get are [about] unsightly land, tourist buses idling in residential neighbourhoods, and cars parked for over 72 hours,” Alty said earlier this month.

“I’d like us to pull back and focus our energy on unsightly lands, tourist buses in residential areas, and cars parked for more than 72 hours. If we did that for a year, we could really make a dent in that.”

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