Bylaw name may change

Coun. Catherine Lord promotes the concept of bylaw compliance

What’s in a word? A lot if you are trying to ensure people follow the rules.

Coun. Catherine Lord has asked City of Vernon staff to investigate whether the bylaw enforcement department should become known as bylaw compliance.

“It’s a softer word and it seems that people are then  more willing to help rather than be enforced,” she said.

Lord was recently in Parksville, on Vancouver Island, and that community uses the term bylaw compliance for staff who oversee municipal rules.

Lord says there has been some concerns about how bylaws are enforced in Vernon and there is the perception that the process can occasionally be heavy-handed.

“When you use the word enforce, it is seen as being a semi-police function,” she said, adding that  focusing on compliance may change the relationship between city staff and the public.

“Sometimes a word can make a difference.”