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Lacombe tackling nuisances in bylaw update

Stray cats, yard car wrecks and noisy snowblowers will be targeted

Eyesore vehicles, ear-splitting snow blowers and wayward cats will be under scrutiny as Lacombe updates its nuisance bylaw.

City council had a wide-ranging discussion earlier this week on residents’ pet peeves and how to beef up regulations in response.

Cat complaints and how to address them was at the centre of much discussion. Cats are included in the existing nuisance bylaw, however, regulations have not proved overly effective.

Since 2015, Lacombe has had 135 cat complaints, but only two tickets have been handed out. The city does not trap stray cats. Annoyed neighbours can borrow a cat trap from the city, and once the alleged culprit has been wrangled, the city will take it to a kennel.

Among the ideas kicked around the table was licensing cats, possibly including mandatory microchipping.

Coun. Thalia Hibbs said it’s time to consider licensing cats as well as dogs, with lower fees for animals that are neutered.

Mayor Grant Creasey said including cats in the nuisance bylaw seems like an “odd combination” and he favoured a more straightforward approach.

Noisy backpack high-velocity leaf and snow blowers have been drawing complaints and council wants to look at banning them after 9 p.m. and before 7 a.m.

Residents have also complained to the city about dilapidated vehicles sitting in driveways and yards.

Hibbs said the existing bylaw does not clearly define dilapidated vehicles, which makes it difficult for bylaw officers to respond to complaints.

“You can have yards full of vehicles that, hopefully, are at least tarped over. But it looks like a wrecker’s yard in the middle of a residential area.”

Creasey said it’s not only an issue of beat-up vehicles. Vehicles parked on front lawns should also be restricted.

“I think we have to have some sort of standard here.”

Lacombe corporate services director Diane Piche said staff will look at other communities to see what regulations have worked and how they have defined certain nuisances, such as dilapidated vehicles.

“Right now, it’s going to be a lot of researching and exploring of what other people do and putting forth some options.”

Some sort of general animal control bylaw will likely be suggested.

Before any changes are made, there will be opportunities for public input.

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