by Andru McCracken

And old “junker” like many seen in Valemount yards. / Stock Photo

Bylaw Officer Chris Dolbec wants people to know that the Village of Valemount is going to begin enforcing its good neighbour bylaw. The Village has devoted more resources to bylaw enforcement, 20 hours per week, and Dolbec says people can expect change.

“It’s time that we start cleaning up the village in general,” said Dolbec.

She said old rusting vehicles pose environmental risks and are an eyesore.

“Batteries in their cars, air conditioners over time will decay and leak into the soil and so forth,” she said.

Dolbec said a well maintained village helps increase property values.

“It portrays an all-round better image,” she said. “It helps people feel better about where they are living.”

If you have cars on your property that can’t be moved under their own power, you are in contravention, even if you are working on a project vehicle, said Dolbec. The main issue, she says, are vehicles that have been permanently parked.

“There are some areas of town, (where) every other house has an accumulation of derelict vehicles, motors or what have you.”

“I get that people like to tinker,” she said. “It’s more when they get a car, it’s towed there and sits there.”

The bylaw states that residents can have two unlicensed vehicles parked on their property providing that they are capable of running.

Dolbec said there are ‘quite a few’ that have more than three.

“We’re going to start soft. We’ll ask people to start with the basics, clean up your yard, deal with the noxious weeds. Take pride in the home that you have, whether you own it or rent it,” she said.

“I have sent out some letters with some people who have a bigger challenge ahead of them than most.”

Dolbec said she’s working on solutions to help people who can’t afford to move the derelict vehicles.

Dolbec said that while the bylaw isn’t new, she is getting more time to work on the issues.

“We’re trying to enforce everything: business licenses, dog bylaws, watering bylaws. It helps bring a community together and more conformity.”

Dolbec said the “Coming Soon” sign advertising the Saas Fee resort on a prominent lot on 5th Avenue is being dealt with.

“They have until August to remove that sign as well as some other signs that have fallen over, or falling apart or no longer relevant,” she said. “Letters have gone out and the warnings have gone out.”

Dolbec said early volunteer efforts have been productive.

“During our Clean Up Days we took out 25,000 pounds of metal from the village,” she said. “People don’t realize how much crap is lying around. When you give them a chance to deal with it, most people respond.”