A new Property Maintenance Bylaw in Golden has once again brought into question just what rights a person has to do with land and property they own.
I could not place all of the regulations from bylaw number 1287 in this editorial but some of the highlights involved graffiti, rubbish and keeping items like abandoned vehicles, household appliances or furniture, “or any parts thereof in or on any highways, sidewalk, ditch, parking lot, waterway, park or other public place, or on or in any open place on private property, except in a receptacle, facility or within a site intended or designated by the Town or a government body for that purpose, and in accordance with any applicable bylaw or other enactment.”
Part of this new bylaw deals with the clean up of a site. After a complaint has been laid and town officials will be sent out to investigate. If the officials deem the area in need of the clean up then they will notify the owner they have to remove whatever the complaint was about. If they do not do so in the time allotted then the Town will have the right to come on your land, remove the issue and charge you for it.
So does the Town have the right to tell you as a resident what you can or cannot have on your property?
This comes down to a notion of what freedom really is. The police have to have a reason to come on to your property and can not just enter a house to have a look around.
In this case part of the process will being with the complaint. If one person living near a house has a problem with what another person has on their land, should they have the right to try and have the “junk” removed? If I am not hurting anyone and just happen to enjoy old junker cars should the Town have the right to take them away and then charge me for them. The simple answer from the town to this question is yes they do in certain cases. As part of the Town charter and now the bylaw the Town has taken on a responsibility. After talking to an official at the Town office it was explained that this bylaw was brought in place after a great deal of debate and thought. Judgement will be used in each individual case and people will have the right to go to the council and defend the reasoning why something is on their property.
Residents in the town have to use judgement now as well. This bylaw is something teetering on an edge. It can be used for the extreme cases where someone has so many rotting cars and other junk in their back yard that it could eventually be a health, environmental or even a financial risk for people around them.
But it could also become something petty which will eat up representatives from the Town’s time which could be spent on more important issues. Like any new or old law, common sense and balance are required.
Don’t abuse, just use in the right way.
As for the cry of freedom, well that is a controlled dream in reality. You are not permitted to do many things in society. Laws are there in everything you do. When you are out on a walk, you are not supposed to jay walk. When you drive there are speed limits . You cannot just grow whatever you want in your house and think the police will not take notice.
New laws always cause issues. Not everyone will agree with something that they see as infringing on their freedom to do what they want with something they own. Simply put we are in a world where we all have limits on our rights to do what we want, when we want to. If the law is used properly the only things that will get hurt here should be garbage and rusty metal which comes down to the people who now have the authority to use the law. That has to be their goal. Use the law right and only when the extreme is in front of your face because situations can do get out of hand on a regular basis when laws are involved.