Chestermere Municipal Enforcement presented a nine per cent decrease of incidents in 2019 during the March 17 Regular Meeting of Council.
“Our officers continually attempt to educate the public prior to resorting to enforcement actions, some of these avenues include educating residents about bylaws, verbal and written warnings, and in some cases arranging conflict mitigation between two parties,” Municipal Peace Officer Sergeant Trever Bowman said.
Adding, “With an overwhelming majority of complaints, this strategy has proven to be very effective.”
Complaints regarding the traffic bylaw continue to be the most common for municipal enforcement, with a substantial increase of parking and abandoned vehicle complaints during the summer months.
In 2019, 1530 traffic violations were issued, which was a decrease from the 1593 violations issued in 2018.
On Dec. 7, Peace Officers responded to an SUV being driven erratically on the ice on the lake.
The vehicle was reported to be driving at high speeds, becoming dangerously close to ice skaters and fishermen.
With the weight of the vehicle, there was the potential that the vehicle could have gone through the ice.
A male from Chestermere, was charged in relation to this incident, and two weeks later an off-highway vehicle did go through the ice where the incident occurred.
“Traffic education and enforcement continue to be a valuable tool preventing traffic-related deaths and injuries in Chestermere,” Bowman said.
“Excessive speed still continues to be a significant concern to our residents, especially in residential areas,” he said.
On Dec. 13, a Peace Officer stopped a vehicle traveling at 126 km/h in the West Chestermere Drive area. Although the speed limit in the area is 40 km/h.
“Chestermere’s Peace Officers continue to work with our public safety partners, in promoting traffic safety throughout Chestermere and the surrounding areas,” Bowman said.
The implementation of the harmonized school and playgrounds in 2019 has showed positive results as a three per cent decrease in speeding in playground and school zones was reported.
Distracted driving also continues to be an ongoing issue in the community.
“It has not decreased what so ever despite enforcement,” Bowman said.
“The AMA advised that distracted driving is responsible for more traffic-related deaths and injuries in Alberta than speeding and impaired driving combined,” he said.
In 2020, Chestermere Municipal Enforcement will be participating in a pilot project to address distracted driving in the province.
The one-year project entails the use of a subdued decaled vehicle, specifically utilized for the detection of distracted driving and seatbelt use.
The project was proposed by the City of Chestermere in 2018 and later approved by the Director of Law Enforcement.
In addition, unsightly premises also continue to be an area of concern for Chestermere Municipal Enforcement.
In 2019, Chestermere City Council passed a new bylaw that will allow municipal enforcement to effectively address issues of public safety, large scale dumping in the rural areas, and ensure continued development does not impact adjacent properties and residents.
“By passing the unsightly bylaw, officers were provided the ability to address developing trends identified in the community,” Bowman said.
A significant highlight Bowman presented was a 97 per cent decrease in animal-related complaints since 2016.
“This decrease is a result of increased public education, and successful prosecutions with serious incidents involving animals,” Bowman said.
Last year, municipal enforcement began to conduct marine enforcement patrols on the lake.
An emphasis was placed on safety and education during the water patrols, with the goal of educating the public in changing dangerous behaviours to reduce the possibility of injury or damage to property.
“The water patrols consisted of vessel inspections, ensuring no liquor or cannabis was on board, and the watercraft was being operated in a safe and legal matter,” Bowman said.
Over 160 vessel compliance checks were completed, with warnings issued for open alcohol use and careless operation of a watercraft.
A total of two vessels were ordered to be removed from the water, with one person charged under the Vessel Operators Restriction Regulations.
Community involvement has remained a high priority for municipal enforcement with school visits, presentations, park and beach patrols, Tim Horton’s Camp Day, Synergy positive ticketing program, Junior Peace Officer program, Pack the PC event, Winter-Ready Program, Child Seat Installation clinics, and numerous block parties.
“In 2019, we saw a substantial increase in our officers being proactive in the community and identifying concerns before they became resident complaints,” Bowman said.
Not only did municipal enforcement participate in many community events, but they also presented the anti-bullying program in all the local schools.
“The feedback from the anti-bullying educational component has been very positive,” Bowman said.
Adding, “Peace Officers, working with the RCMP have responded to several bullying-related complaints.”