Brawlers beware

Sylvan Lake council sent a message Monday night that rowdy behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Sylvan Lake council sent a message Monday night that rowdy behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Anyone placing graffiti on property or making noise could face fines ranging from $50 to $2,500 for a first-time offence after council passed its community standards bylaw on Monday.

Brawlers risk a fine of $500 for a first-time offence of fighting in public. The fine for a first-time offence for yelling or swearing starts at $150.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson said it won’t be a matter of bylaw officers chasing down people for every swear word or piece of litter. Fines will be up to the bylaw officer’s discretion.

“We’re looking at the extreme examples, where we have people in an altercating situation, where things flare up . . . ,” Samson said. “If you’re walking down the street and you hear foul language, that is one thing, but if you’re walking down the street and a group of people are there and they are continually using foul language, that is not the kind of thing we want and we have the ability to stop it.”

The bylaw covers spitting, urinating in public and causing various disturbances. It also tackles the issue of bullying, with youngsters facing a fine of $125 for a first-time offence and adults facing $500 for a similar offence.

Graffiti tops the fine category with a $2,500 fine for a first-time offence, $5,000 for a second offence and up to $7,500 for a third or subsequent offences within a year.

“We feel that as a community of 11,000 plus we’re looking at a certain standard that we want to maintain for our citizens,” Samson said.

She said the community of Sylvan Lake is in the unique position of getting more than a million visitors annually, with many of them just visiting for the day.

“So with that comes some challenges, and so what we wanted to do was give the tools to our bylaw enforcement and the RCMP to create a standard in the community that is acceptable to all of us,” she said.

The town already had existing bylaws for nuisance and noise, but they needed to be updated. The decision was made to roll those and other offences into the new bylaw. Town administration examined similar bylaws in Red Deer and Edmonton to create it.

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