Oakville hires more bylaw officers to patrol rule breakers at local waterfront parks
Help is on the way to prevent crowds from gathering in violation of COVID-19 regulations at Oakville waterfront parks this summer.
Beginning in May, the Town of Oakville will add eight additional bylaw officers to patrol local waterfront parks, dispersing of any large crowds congregating, and deal with illegal parking.
Jim Barry, Oakville’s director of municipal enforcement services, said at Town Council on Monday night that, along with addition of eight mobile bylaw compliance officers, Oakville will now have a total of 37 bylaw enforcement officers to deal with calls.
That’s up from the 26 the Town had in 2020.
“The park officers will be assigned to our waterfront areas to try and manage congregation limits and traffic in those areas,” Barry explained.
He said another 15 park ambassadors will be at Oakville parks this year.
“This will allow us to essentially create a tiered enforcement program to make sure we have a significant amount of education followed up by only after the education of enforcement,” Barry said.
Town of Oakville numbers show there was an 84-per cent rise in calls to bylaw investigation in 2020. There were 24,490 incidents in 2020, up significantly from the 13,290 in 2019, the year before the pandemic.
“That seems to be continuing through in 2021,” Barry said.
Bylaw investigations (from Jan. 1 to April 15 in 2020 compared to Jan. 1 to April 15 in 2021) have increased by over 1,000 calls from 1,860 in 2020 to 3,127 in 2021.
COVID specific numbers are increasing and causing pressures on enforcement staffs.
“Those are the calls related to COVID,” Barry said. “They’re all time-consuming calls and they’re really driving resource demands on our staff.”
There were more than 164 social gathering investigations
“And these are gaining speed and our officers are responding to these a lot more frequently than before,” Barry said.
“Based on these numbers, I anticipate 2021 will be more challenging for reasons of resource issues,” he added.
There were also 440 calls dealing with physical distancing.
“All of these calls take significant time,” Barry said.
TOWN OF OAKVILLE PHOTO
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