The Friendly Face of Bylaw

The bylaw department and service at the City of Fernie comes up frequently, and by frequently, I mean every time I hit the grocery store I get a bylaw observation! People are surprised to hear that our bylaw service investigates on a complaint basis, so if you don’t call it in, we aren’t investigating.

A bylaw officer holds a very important function within the organisation which includes; managing business licensing, animal control, streets and traffic regulations, waste regulations, and unsightly premise. The goal of bylaw is to make Fernie a great place to live, assisting us to live in a safe community. When our bylaw officers are responding to a violation, they also respond to safety concerns they might come across which includes dogs at large.

Tracy Seille has really lent her natural enthusiasm for bylaw to show us all that through conversation, education and discussion bylaw can be a real positive experience for the community.

My conversation with Tracy;

  1. What is the most challenging thing about working bylaw?

I tell people all the time when describing my job, I am paid to have difficult conversations daily. We as officers have to address concerns that are usually of a sensitive nature.A neighbour’s dog pooping on their lawn, unsightly properties, dog bites, parking issues and the list goes on. Sometimes the recipient of the messaging isn’t always happy to hear what you have to say, this can be quite challenging. My approach has always been solution oriented and non-bias, let people speak, listen and give effective feedback in order to gain compliance. There is a time and a place for enforcement action, but always try to work towards voluntary compliance.   

  1. What is the most rewarding thing about working bylaw, or an incident that you really enjoyed in your career as a bylaw officer? 

Making a difference. Whether it be helping a bonified stray animal or dealing with a contentious issue in the community, you can make a great impact by finding solutions and that is truly rewarding.

  1.   What are the most common mis-conceptions about bylaw in the community?

People have a pre-conceived notion of what/who a Bylaw Officer is, usually the idea is that we are insensitive, power tripping, dog catching, ticket writing officers… and that simply is not the case!

  1. If you had one thing you would want to communicate about bylaw to the community, what would it be? 

Bylaw officers are here to make the community a safer place for all to enjoy. If you see an officer out and about share some love and kindness - it brightens our day!

Local governments want to make sure members of our community feel safe in our shared spaces and that citizens can enjoy their property without feeling impacted by their neighbours.Our bylaw officer is a critical component to make that happen.

If you see a Bylaw Violation you can report it by phone or email, and your personal information will not be disclosed to the individual or business under investigation. Here are the instructions; fernie.ca/EN/main/residents/city-services/bylaw-services-business-licences/bylaw-services.html.

In the meantime, be kind out there to one another and be sure to say hello to our bylaw officers, it absolutely will brighten their day.