Red Deer City Hall. (Advocate file photo.)

Red Deer City Hall. (Advocate file photo.)

City of Red Deer to expand appeals boards that hear citizen complaints

Instead of two appeals boards, the Tribunals Bylaw proposes four

The City of Red Deer is expanding ways citizens can make official complaints about fines and notices.

Instead of having only two appeal boards, the city is establishing four.

On Monday, city council gave initial approval to a Tribunal Bylaw. It will bring the city into compliance with provincial Weed Control and Agriculture Acts, which both require mechanisms for citizen appeals.

As well as continuing the two existing appeals boards — the Subdivision Appeals Board to hear development application appeals, and the License and Community Standards Board (previously known as the Red Deer Appeal and Review Board) to hear bylaws appeals — the city is adding two more boards.

These new boards will include a Review Board to undertake reviews by council under the Municipal Government Act, and the Administrative Penalties Board to consider written appeal applications.

Michelle Baer, the city’s legal and legislative services manager, said the new boards would hear complaints from people who have received city notices, such as having to rectify having unsightly or dangerous properties, or who have been fined for having noxious weeds, under the provincial Weed Control Act or Agricultural Pests Act.

Baer doesn’t think these changes will daunting for city residents to navigate as they will be referred by city staff to the appropriate process, depending on their complaints.

Council heard this expansion in appeal boards was necessary because citizens must have an official complaint process under the two provincial acts. The changes also anticipate future city growth by creating a more efficient adjudication process for administrative penalties.

Red Deer’s Tribunal Bylaw seeks to capitalize on the experience and expertise of appeal board members by appointing the same people to serve on all the tribunals.

The bylaw will come back to council for final reading on April 11.

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