By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
HALDIMAND—Mayor Ken Hewitt did not mince words when it came to his disappointment with the level of respect shown to the County’s bylaws and the officers who enforce them in a statement made during the last Council session.
“They are human beings. We’re starting to hear some of the things that these poor individuals have been put through with regard to respect from the public and simply trying to get compliance, and get people to be socially distant, to be mindful, and to look after their neighbours, to take care of their communities, to put garbage in a garbage can. To simply behave in a way that I think we as a civilized society should all choose to,” said Hewitt.
According to the County, 2020 has seen a massive increase in the amount of bylaw responses made by officers. For the period of January to June of 2019, the County logged 569 responses. For the same period in 2020, they logged 4,094 responses. From those, 510 fines were issued. Dunnville and Caledonia were listed as the two towns with the highest amount of infractions, both roughly equal in terms of numbers.
“Bylaw officers have been very busy during the pandemic, as they have been enforcing the County’s bylaws as well as emergency orders issued by provincial and local Medical Officers of Health,” said Randy Charlton, Manager of Building & Bylaw Enforcement at Haldimand County.
Hewitt explained that the County bylaw office has limited resources available and are already spread thin dealing with property standards and normal day-to-day operations. He commended the officers who have stepped up to the plate to handle the increased burden brought on by COVID-19. However, his comments on the reaction of the public to the pandemic were those of frustration.
“The fact that we have to find ways to babysit this stupidity is simply unnerving. It’s insane that we spend more time and staff resources – and Haldimand taxpayer dollars – to have to go around and deal with some of that stuff when there are so many other things we could be using those resources for,” said Hewitt.