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New ticketing system in works

Process would allow local dispute of instead of B.C. court procedures

Delta wants to be able to better crack down on parking offences and other violations with a new ticketing process.

Council this week agreed with a staff recommendation to pursue a bylaw dispute adjudication system to replace its current municipal ticket system. It would result in a process that allows local dispute of bylaw tickets instead of going through the procedures in provincial court.

Under the current system, a municipal bylaw ticket that's disputed can lead to a court date, which may require the attendance of a lawyer, ticketing officer and the person disputing the ticket. Under the bylaw dispute adjudication system, a disputed bylaw notice is referred to a screening officer who is a senior Delta employee. The screening officer reviews the file and has the opportunity to attempt resolution through several options, including discussing the case directly with the disputant.

That may result in payment of the fine once the disputant is made fully aware of the particulars of the case. Some of the other options available include offering a compliance agreement to rectify the issue, possibly in exchange for a reduction or a waiver in the fine.

If there's no resolution, the disputed ticket is then referred to an adjudicator appointed by the province's deputy attorney general. The hearing would take place in a local setting such as Delta council chambers.

Under the new system, the burden of proof is based on a balance of probabilities rather than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bylaw officers can also submit notes as evidence, rather than be required to attend a hearing for each disputed notice. If found guilty after disputing the notice, the offending party may be charged an additional fee of $25.

Aimed at reducing costs and streamlining the processes of enforcing minor offences, several other municipalities have already switched to the new system

Delta needs the approval of the Ministry of Attorney General before implementing the new bylaw dispute process.

Coun. Heather King at council this week noted the new system will help the municipality deal with such violations as parents insisting on dropping off or waiting to pick up their kids in no parking zones at schools, which is a safety issue.