Deputy Mayor pulls support of new property standards and right of entry bylaws

Carleton Place town hall.
Photo credit: carletonplace.ca
Posted on: November 20, 2020

On Wednesday, November 18th, Carleton Place Deputy Mayor Sean Redmond posted a statement on his Facebook page (and confirmed it to Hometown News) that indicated he was changing his position on the new property standards bylaw due to a right of entry clause giving town inspectors and bylaw enforcement officials the right to enter onto private property without the owner’s permission or in face of their denial of such permission. This authority was recently bestowed upon municipalities by the province, but it requires a motion of council to put it into practice.

At the last full council meeting on November 10th, the new edition of the property standards bylaw was passed by a 4-3 margin with Redmond voting in favour. It included a ‘right of entry’ clause. A separate right of entry bylaw discussed at the later Committee of the Whole meeting also passed by the same margin (again with Redmond’s support). That bylaw was not put in force but instead was to be forwarded to the next full council meeting for approval and enactment. The additional legislation was put forward to give animal control officers and other municipal officials the right of entry onto private property but not inside any residential structures.

This is the text of Redmond’s statement on Facebook and confirmed by email to Hometown News.

 After many phone calls, emails, texts and messages. I heard you. I will NOT be supporting the property standards bylaw with the right of entry. The intent was never to include a residence in it. That was a no starter from the get go. How it got in I cannot answer. Who made the error I can’t answer, but like you I am not happy. Even by removing it now my trust is shaken and will not even consider supporting it. In first light access to the outside of a property after a series effort of attempts seemed like a reasonable ask. Bylaw asked to have it included as they said in some instances, they could not do their job and investigate or enforce the bylaws. 

Bylaws are the worst nightmare of councils. To create them, rescind them, change them to enforce them or not. We use a mostly a complaint driven enforcement policy. And there are a surprisingly large number of complaints I would be just as happy to have no bylaws, however that would be like the wild west. Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil. Most bylaw complaints and disputes are a fight or in some cases a war between neighbors. Trust me, WE do not want to get involved. If people could just be mature, respectful and use common sense, and work out their differences out, like mature adults our need for them would vanish. Most times it’s like breaking up a school yard fight and we the principal. Sadly, that is not the case. We get put into the middle of it. Quite often there is a lot of emotion, anger, bitterness with a little mix of you can’t infringe on my rights thrown in by the time it gets to us. The only way to investigate is to see the facts, and that requires access to a yard. 99.9% of the time it is not an issue and people cooperate and invite bylaw onto their property. It’s that .001% that’s an issue. All we can ask is be mature and respectful and the vast number of issues would be solved. All of our lives would be much happier, richer and enjoyable. Some people say they call bylaw and they do nothing. Sometimes they just can’t. 

These are the reasons I was initially in favor of it. To repeat I will NOT be supporting this bylaw 

When reminded by Hometown News that the new property standards bylaw had already received final council approval on November 10th, Redmond didn’t indicate what his next steps would be. 

Article by Brian Turner