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Kelowna bylaw dispute process will change

If Kelowna council gives its approval Monday, the way you fight a municipal bylaw ticket in the Okanagan will change Feb. 1.

Kelowna has teamed up with eight other municipalities and one regional district in the valley to create a new adjudication system for dealing with bylaw ticket challenges— a system that takes them out of the courts.

Instead, anyone who wants to challenge a bylaw ticket will first see a municipal screening officer and if he or she refuses to set the ticket aside the accused can to continue to challenge it, using a provincially appointed adjudicator.

The adjudicator’s decision will be final—there is no legal appeal— and if the accused loses, an additional $25 will be tacked on to the fine on the ticket. If the accused wins, the municipality picks up the extra $25 cost.

Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming said the new system is aimed at making it faster and cheaper to deal with bylaw infractions. He said the new adjudication registry will be based in Kelowna but there may be a rotation between here, Penticton and Vernon in future.

The new system will not require the accused to be present—written submissions will be allowed as well as telephone contact. The system stems from a pilot project conducted in the mid-1990s and was first talked about here in 2009.

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