City promoting bylaw complaints mediation program

The City of Red Deer hopes to raise public awareness about its mediation program designed to resolve bylaw complaints.

The City of Red Deer hopes to raise public awareness about its mediation program designed to resolve bylaw complaints.

Joyce Boon, co-manager of the Inspections and Licensing Department, gave an annual report on the mediation program during Tuesday’s council meeting.

The program began as a pilot project in 2011 and since then, nine requests for mediation have arisen. The majority of mediation requests come from the RCMP, peace officers and compliance officers who investigate, warn and, at times, charge individuals. This often results in repeat complaints, which may not solve the initial problem.

The types of disputes involving mediation could be noise issues, dogs or other animals, parking complaints or other civic matters, conflicts with neighbours over fences, weeds and the like.

“These are nagging complaints that don’t seem to go away,” said Boon.

The program is offered to a number of people during conversations but many don’t take part, she added.

Two mediator businesses have been contracted by the city to act as a neutral third party. A typical mediation session runs one to two hours.

Out of the nine mediation requests, four came to a successful mutual agreement. Two requests are currently at mediation.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said she understood this program was to help bring “savings on the policing side.”

Plans are to have the mediation co-ordinator and one of the mediators attend additional RCMP watch briefings in 2011.