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The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

City sees more complaints for unsightly premises, zoning infractions

By Brad Perry Nov 27, 2023 | 7:00 AM

Saint John is seeing a big increase in the number of complaints over unsightly premises and zoning infractions.

It has prompted staff to ask for $180,000 to hire a second bylaw enforcement officer for the community standards program.

The program is responsible for enforcing standards for unsightly premises, zoning, dog control, pits and quarries, and mobile home parks.

Pamela Bentley, who manages the program, said the current bylaw enforcement officer is able to resolve about 125 cases per year.

But Bentley noted that the number of cases they receive has increased 70 per cent in 2022 and 2023.

“Some cases are small and easy to complete, and others can be quite large and need a lot of time and attention,” Bentley told council’s growth committee last week.

Bentley said there are a number of reasons for the increase, including population growth and a more streamlined complaint submission process.

With more than 400 cases resolved since the program began, she said it is also likely that more complaints are being submitted as citizens have greater confidence that it will be dealt with.

Bentley said the overall caseload has reached record levels and can no longer be handled by just one officer.

“We project that if we add a bylaw enforcement officer for 24 months, we can double the output, resolve twice the number of cases for unsightly premises for zoning, and this resource will help return the caseloads to a more manageable level,” she said.

Finance committee voted to send the matter to council, which is expected to vote on the funding request Monday night.