The recent announcement of a review of the provincial act governing municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador will be a great move for towns across our province.
First, if for no other reason, given the sector has some of the oldest municipal legislation in the country, a review is long overdue. It is time!
For example, provincewide the question of the use of snow vehicles and all-terrain vehicles within municipal boundaries has been a contentious issue. A revised act would establish clarity and consistency that is now absent in legislation.
Provincewide, there are municipalities asking for authority to set higher property taxes for derelict and vacant buildings. This should act as a deterrent to property owners to allow their premises to become unsightly. At the moment, municipalities are handicapped to what extent they can truly go after cleaning up properties.
A similar concern can be brought forward in relation to individuals or companies who store or leave vehicles, recreational vehicles or construction equipment seemly, at times, helter skelter over properties. Once again, council’s authority is limited. The act needs to be updated in this area.
As well, the current legislation needs to be amended to reflect protection for municipal workers assigned duties from council from being interfered with, or obstructed, in carrying out tasks.
It also goes without saying; the legislation needs to address council’s new responsibilities as dictated by changing social dynamics and demographics within a municipality.
And, of course, the act needs to deal with emerging issues like regional government.
Mayor, Channel-Port aux Basques