The City of Wetaskiwin is looking to target habitual offenders not properly following the Safety Codes Permit bylaw with steep penalties.
During city council’s Feb. 26 meeting councillors passed three readings amending the bylaw’s fees. For a first offence, the penalty fee is double the permit fee; the second offence is set at 10 times the permit fee; the third offence will be revocation of a City of Wetaskiwin business license for one year.
The purpose of permits required through the Safety Codes Act is to ensure work is being done safely and to protect the public with regards to building, electrical, gas and plumbing.
Coun. Alan Hilgartner questioned if the city’s permit fees were set to high, resulting in habitual offenders skipping the needed permits.
“Our permit fees are not out of line at all,” said Sue Howard, director of engineering and development.
Howard says at the end of the day it is the property owner’s responsibility to ensure the required permits are in place. However, it is not the intention of the city to come down heavy handed on anyone who makes a mistake, as the main goal of the amendments is to act as a deterrent for those looking to purposely bypass the system again and again.
“Generally, for home owners who don’t know, it’s an education process,” said Howard.
“If you’re doing it that second time you’re doing it purposely. This is just a very quick way to get their attention and address the issue,” added Lisa Novotny, manager of engineering and development.
This the changes approved the city is looking at hosting an open house in the future for residents.