A huge overhaul of Port Coquitlam’s ticketing program will hit scofflaws where it hurts — in the pocketbook.
Hundreds of fines are being increased, and new ones added, to crack down on dangerous dogs, highway littering, illegal tree cutting and even for shooting firearms or setting off fireworks without a permit.
In many cases, if you pay your ticket early, you’ll get a 30% discount.
But if you fail to pay, you could be hit with a $75 fine.
Worse, you could face a $1,000 fine and be taken to court if you repeatedly break municipal bylaws.
It’s an overhaul that has city council pleased that steps are being taken to bring fines into line with other municipalities while also dealing with situations that have cropped up in Port Coquitlam recently.
“What staff have done here is a comprehensive review,” said Mayor Brad West, in endorsing the changes.
IF FINES DON'T WORK, CITY COULD TAKE YOU TO COURT FOR $1,000
The last time such a review was undertaken was in 2013, when the province provided cities with a simpler adjudication system to compliment a more onerous municipal ticketing information system that required cities to take rule breakers to court.
And while fine revenue isn’t a huge money-maker, the city does bring in about $135,000 annually.
Under the proposed changes, the city is upping most of its fines, and giving bylaw officers more clout by giving them the option of going to court and charging the $1,000 fine if they need to bring someone into line.
The good-cop, bad-cop regime is hoping to bring people into compliance.
“We focus the increases in that bylaw around life safety issues and environmental issues,” explained Dominic Long, director of community safety and corporate support.
The $1,000 penalty under the municipal ticketing information system (MTI) is saved for the most egregious behaviour, he said.
FOUR NEW FINES FOR DANGEROUS DOGS ON THE LOOSE
Meanwhile, a crackdown on dangerous dogs is one area getting special attention.
Four new dangerous dog fines have been added, costing $500 each and no discount for early payment. There are now fines for a dog that:
- Chases, injures and bites a person
- Chases, injures and bites an animal
- Being at large
- Damaging property
As well, the penalty for not picking up dog waste is also going up to $150 from $100, but you can get a 30% discount if you pay early.
The fines come as people have been complaining about off-leash dogs in Gates Park.
Meanwhile, numerous other fines with hefty increases are on the books, and with final approval, could be implemented as early as September.
HIGHER FINES TO GO INTO EFFECT IN SEPTEMBER IN PORT COQUITLAM
Here are some samples:
Secure your pet
- The fine for failing to provide identification of an aggressive dog is going up to $300 from $200
- $375 if not paid in 30 days
- Other fines dealing with aggressive dogs remain at $500 with no discount
Failure to remove snow and ice
- Fine is going up to $150 from $100
- $105 if paid within 30 days
- $225 if paid after 30 days
Fines for not obeying water restrictions
- Stage 1 is $100
- Stage 2 is $150
- Stage 3 is $300
- Stage 4 is $450
Other fines going up:
- No smoke alarm? You’ll be hit with a $300 fine, up from $200
- Noisy neighbours? Fines going up to $300 from $100
Some of the more hefty fines, include:
- Discharge of firearm $500, discharge of bow and arrow, $500 no discount
- Tease/molest/injure animal in nature goes up to $500 from $150
- No businesses license to $500 from $150, no discount for early payment
- Obstructing police officer or employee goes up to $500 from $225
Meanwhile, people who rack up fines can get a break — as long as they get into compliance — with as much as 50% reduction, in some cases.