We assume in our daily lives that because we pay our taxes and we have in place acts such as the Local Government Act, the Community Charters Act, that we are protected.
We mistakingly believe that because of these acts that we would not be left helpless and alone should we be faced with obvious disregard of those acts and the laws they provide, supposedly to protect us. But we would be wrong.
Our system of municipal government operates on bylaws. Bylaws, in essence, are put into place to protect the public — at least that was their original intent. As long as everyone respected that and penalties imposed on those who did not, that system should work to hold all accountable. As to citizens who choose to abuse or break a bylaw the full weight of the law will be enforced and you will pay dearly for your disobedience.
Unfortunately for us, if the municipality decided to abuse a bylaw or manipulate it or totally ignore the laws of the above mentioned acts there will be no such wrath of the full weight of the law and zero consequence.
After a recent turn of events, I found myself in the position of trying to find just who would enforce the powers of both the Local Government Act or the Community Charter and to my dismay found no one. These are provincial acts and the provincial system is so broken the municipal governments are left to ride roughshod over their citizens without fear of the very acts put into place to protect and the bylaws themselves.
So do we have recourse? Yes, we are told. We can, through the court system on our own dime, place ourselves in jeopardy financially while the city is free to use our tax dollars to fight us. Is this what can be considered fair or reasonable?
We don’t have to go back too far to see questionable practices happening. A casual look through the Penticton.ca public notices and it is shocking the variances allowed of our bylaws and the extent, and regularity, at which that takes place. The City of Penticton must be held accountable.
This is an election year, we must replace council and mayor with people of higher ethical standards. We must notify city staff, planning and development that they are also on our radar and we expect protection instead of having to sue them.