Are Richmond taxpayers willing to pony up as much as $329,000 to help monitor agricultural land and prevent illegal dumping?
Or are things just fine as they are?
Thats what the city is hoping to find out for its soil removal and fill deposit regulation bylaw, which could result in hiring two or three new bylaw officers to make sure local agricultural land is protected.
Were asking the public and stakeholders for feedback if we are going to make amendments to that (bylaw) or not, said city spokesperson Kim Decker, adding that currently Richmond does not have a bylaw officer specifically tasked with assisting Agricultural Land Commission staff.
Its done through our bylaws department as (and when) people are available to do it, Decker said.
And that has left the city not being able to be on top of things as much as we would like, Decker said.
The cost of hiring two new staff members would be $239,000 annually. Bumping that up to three would cost $329,000.
If extra staff is added, the city would be able to implement preventative patrolling, perform field inspections and develop an advanced soil watch program.
In addition, the publics input will be sought on introducing incremental permit fees and fines for violations of the bylaw.
Right now, all we can do is prosecute offenders in the provincial court, Decker said, adding it can be a lengthy and expensive process.
To get input from the public, the city has scheduled an open house on July 23 at Richmond City Hall. Online feedback can be made at www.LetsTalkRichmond.ca. Deadline for submissions is July 29.
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