Hamilton officials talking tougher action needed to halt bylaw violations

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Hamilton officials are talking tougher when it comes to residents violating bylaws and skirting provincial emergency orders to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic.

City bylaw and police officers have been out in force recently issuing tickets and laying charges against people who are ignoring posted signs and barricades at closed facilities.

"This is not a joke," said Emergency Operations Centre Director Paul Johnson during the city’s daily coronavirus update April 3. "There will be more things enforced."

Johnson highlighted the incident of police issuing $750 tickets to three individuals for golfing on a closed Chedoke Golf Course April 2 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act currently in force to control the spread of coronavirus.

"That is an expensive round of golf," he said.

Earlier in the week after the city closed parking lots near public parks, waterfalls and trails, bylaw officers were out issuing tickets that ranged from $23 to $76 depending upon when the ticket is paid to people who had illegally parked their vehicles on side streets, gravel or grass areas off roads. Johnson said recently officers had to ticket about 300 vehicles that were parked near the now closed Albion Falls.

"Things are pretty much zero tolerance," he said. "The municipality is sending the message this is serious."

Johnson said if there are people on the escarpment stairs, which were closed April 1, officials will not simply ask you to leave. He said there will be enforcement.

Councillors will also be reviewing a recommendation at their April 8 virtual council meeting to establish a $500 fine against individuals who are violating the six-foot physical separation area as mandated by public health officials. The City of Brampton approved a bylaw that imposes a minimum fine of $500 and a maximum of $100,000 for violating the physical distancing order.