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Protective Services Department Presents Year in Review

BONNYVILLE – The Town of Bonnyville’s Protective Services Department has been kept busy in their last fiscal year.

Peace Officer Wanda Tomm provided the quarterly update to Council during the Nov. 14 Regular Meeting. Although the department only has one Community Peace Officer (CPO), Officer Tomm works alongside numerous Town departments and other external partners when requested.

Provincially, Officer Tomm enforces the Animal Protection Act, Gaming, Liquour, and Cannabis Act, Provincial Administrative Penalties, Provincial Offences Procedure Act, and Traffic Safety Act.

From October 2022 to November 2023, Office Tomm investigated 586 incidences.

“An incident is a call for service relating to a bylaw or other provincial matters,” explained Tomm. “This can range from animal control to traffic to an unsightly property.”

Some of the number of incidences Officer Tomm responded to during the last fiscal year includes 138 animal, 114 unsightly properties, 127 traffic, 28 criminal, 52 garbage complaints, and more.

Officer Tomm handed out a total of 259 tickets or warnings during the year. That includes a total of 54 provincial tickets, 46 provincial warnings, 115 bylaw tickets, and 44 bylaw warning tickets.

The Animal Control Bylaw is among the most frequent calls that the Protective Services Department receives. Some of these issues can range from Dogs at large, aggressive dogs, Cats at Large, animals in distress, and so on.

“I also work alongside the Alberta SPCA in regards to animal protection and welfare,” noted Tomm. “These cases are better handled by those officers because they have the facilities and resources to handle these sensitive cases. It allows us to get these abused animals out of the area of occurrence for their safety.”

The Community Standards Bylaw has seen several unsightly properties cleaned up over the past year. Officer Tomm responds to a complaint by putting an orange door knocker on the property, which allows them sufficient time to come into compliance. If no response is received and the homeowner doesn’t come into compliance, letters are sent to the homeowner and further action may be taken under the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

“Although it is a lengthy process, the Protective Services Department has boarded up four properties and more are in the works for next year,” said Tomm. “Most of these properties were vacant and had issues with squatters.”

Officer Tomm often utilizes the Town’s social media and newsletter if she sees an uptick in complaints about a particular bylaw or issue.

“Education is a key part of enforcement. If residents aren’t aware they’re contravening a bylaw or rule, it’s part of my job to provide that information to residents,” she explained, adding she sees an improvement and overall compliance after these posts are made.

A new program Officer Tomm started this past year is the Positivity Tickets. These are green door knockers that recognize a homeowners hard work to keep their property beautiful.

“We’ve had a great response to these door knockers,” exclaimed Tomm. “Homeowners are appreciative that they’re being recognized for taking pride in their homes and making the Town a beautiful place to live.”

Going forward, Office Tomm will continue to focus on education and being involved in the Bonnyville community any way that she can.