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Editorial: Bylaw enforcement tough job in Oliver

Editorial: Bylaw enforcement tough job in Oliver

You couldn’t pay me a king’s ransom to enforce the bylaws of any town, city or hamlet, even with a population of five people.

In other words, we don’t envy bylaw officers Emerald Lutz or Shilo Lyver in Oliver; they have a tough job enforcing the rules that some people believe don’t apply to them.

It’s only human nature to get your back up when someone (not just in uniform) tells you what you can’t do. In fact, I’m more bothered by the average Joe who comes up and says, “Hey, you can’t do that.” (I feel like hitting him with a sopping wet dish rag that was used to wipe up a spaghetti stain on the floor.)

All of the bylaw officers that I’ve ever dealt with were easy going, using their discretion to waive the ticket in favour of educating me.

It’s really in their best interests because they don’t want a battle. And it’s in our best interests to listen because we don’t want a fine for mouthing off.

While you might hide your beer in your underwear to foil the likes of Emerald, she’ll catch you eventually, explaining once again why drinking alcohol in public is not allowed. And you should know better; beer never tastes good when you put it in your skivvies.

What some people tend to forget is that bylaw officers are the messengers, not the lawmakers. They are just following their job description, and if you don’t like it, take it up with Town management.

Think of bylaw enforcement officers as educators in one colossal outdoor classroom. They’d much rather teach you than ticket you.

Kudos to Oliver’s Smoke Free Bylaw that curtails smoking within six metres of a park, school, outdoor public space and community facility. It’s interesting that it doesn’t prohibit people from smoking on a street, except when the street is used for a public event.

Since smoking bans have been implemented in the region, I can’t recall the last time I smelled regular tobacco while walking down a street. But marijuana? That’s a different story. I was at a flea market recently and smelled cannabis. Walking down the street . . . hey, that smells like cannabis. Riding your bike . . . cannabis again.

The City of Penticton recently allowed a total of 14 cannabis stores to operate in its midst (seven downtown and seven outside of town). Is that overkill or what? Why on earth does Penticton need 14 marijuana outlets? Gee, people will be getting high just walking downtown.

It will be very interesting to see how Penticton’s controversial sidewalk-sitting ban will play out, especially how it is enforced.

I live in Penticton and don’t actually see anyone sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, barring the way to my favourite shop. It appears the city is targeting a certain segment of society, people who can’t afford the $100 fine anyway. So what’s the use?

Will we see bylaw officers confronting affluent-looking families who stop to sit on the sidewalk? Not very likely.

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