Vandals targeted, Rocky Mountain House town council increases fines

Vandals and other rowdies will face much bigger financial wallops if they get caught after Rocky Mountain House town council agreed to big fine boosts.

Vandals and other rowdies will face much bigger financial wallops if they get caught after Rocky Mountain House town council agreed to big fine boosts.

Alarmed that vandalism had topped $13,000 worth of damage to public property this year, council took a hard look at its community standards bylaw, said Mayor Jim Bague, who called it a “ridiculous amount of money.” The toll is even higher if damage to private property is added.

The review showed many communities had higher fines for unwelcome behaviour such as urinating in public, fighting or graffiti.

Rocky politicians unanimously voted to follow Red Deer’s lead when setting new fines.

Graffiti taggers were among the culprits who will be targeted under the new fine schedule. The $300 fine for a first-time offender will be boosted to $2,500. A second offence will cost $5,000 and those caught three or more times must fork out $7,000.

“Whether it solves the problem or helps solve the problem remains to be seen,” he said. “The bylaw is a tool for the police. It’s an alternative to taking (culprits) to court.”

Bague said a majority of the vandalism is “stupid stuff.”

Planters have been wrecked, shrubs pulled out, windows smashed and washrooms damaged in public buildings.

Those choosing to urinate or defecate in a public place other than a washroom will also pay a steeper price for their inappropriate response to nature’s call. First-time fines will go to $500 from $250. Fines for second and third offences will also increase to $750 and $1,000.

Loiterers also saw their fines double to $250 and $500 for first and second offences. Third offence fines were boosted to $750 from $500.

Fighting fines were also increased to $500, $750 and $1,000.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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