Bylaw Services

ANIMAL CONTROL
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE USE & PROPERTY
NOISE CONTROL
TRUCKS & TRAFFIC ISSUES
UNSIGHTLY PREMISES

Introduction

The goal of Bylaw Services is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the citizens of Merritt.

This is accomplished by:

  • Handling all complaints and investigations fairly and impartially
  • Responding to citizen concerns and inquiries in a timely fashion
  • Resolving issues through compliance

We do not respond to anonymous complaints. Complainants must be willing to provide their name, address and telephone number, as well as the nature of the complaint (including date and time of the incident being reported).

We do not provide the complainant’s identity; this is kept confidential unless the matter is referred to court. In that case, the complainant must be willing to testify and/or provide requried affidavits.

The Bylaw Department does its best to enforce all city bylaws proactively, fairly and effectively. We are limited in our efforts by the size of the city, limited resources and number of bylaws. We rely on our citizens to be good neighbours and to comply with bylaws designed to make Merritt a better place for all. Our regulatory bylaws are available on this website and bylaws are available at City Hall.

The Bylaw Department is also your first contact in setting up a business in Merritt, and processes Business Licence applications. The Bylaw Department is a part of the Corporate Services division headed by the Director of Corporate Services.

Contact

Bylaw Services Officer

Phone: (250) 378-8628
Email: bylaw@merritt.ca

Animal Control

In Merritt, you may have up to two (2) dogs, and up to (2) two cats per residence (includes secondary suites).  Bylaw Services may, upon request, allow an owner to have more than two (2) dogs in exceptional circumstances.

If you live in an area zoned Agricultural, you may keep livestock, fur bearing animals or poultry.

Licences

Dogs must be licensed each year.  The licences are valid from January 1 to December 31, and every dog over the age of six months must have a licence.  The licence tag must be affixed to the dog’s collar and worn at all times.  If your dog is found off your property without a valid licence, there is a $50 fee and it increases with each offence.  By having your dog licenced, we will be able to reunite you with your pet.

Pet licence fees are as follows:

For any neutered or spayed dog $24
For any un-neutered or unspayed dog $50
Lost tag replacement $10

Licences are available from Reception at City Hall.  You will need to provide a vet certificate to prove that the animal has been spayed or neutered – you only have to show this certificate once.

Regulations

Dogs must be kept on a leash and under the control of a competent person at all times when in public.  If your animal is found running at large, Bylaw Services will bring your dog to the City pound facility, and while your animal will receive good care (and even veterinary attention if required), you will be subject to fines, impoundment fees and expenses.

“Guests” at the pound are kept for 72 hours.  You will be notified via an impoundment notice with instructions on how to reclaim your pet.  After three days pets may be sold, adopted out, or sadly, destroyed.

Under the City bylaw, if your dog bites a person or another animal, it may be designated a Dangerous Dog.  Under this designation annual licence fees increase to $1000 and the dog must be kept securely confined and/or muzzled, and meet other conditions.

Please clean up after your dog.  Our bylaws require that you scoop that poop and dispose of it appropriately.  Failure to do so can result in a $50 fine.

Female dogs in heat must be confined indoors or in an enclosure where she cannot escape or have unwanted visitors.

For more information, please read the Animal Control Bylaw

Animal Shelter

The City does not have an animal shelter.  We do operate a pound. The pound is for dealing with animals in contravention of the City bylaw only.  Unfortunately we do not have the resources to deal with puppies, cats, kittens or other adoption services, or with mistreated animals.  We rely on service from the Kamloops SPCA – they can be contacted at (250) 376-7722.

Controlled Substance and Property Use

The City of Merritt has a Controlled Substance Bylaw. In short, what this means is that if the City discovers that your property is being used to manufacture or grow controlled substances (grow-ops, meth labs etc), the City can prohibit the building from being occupied and require the property owner to bring the property back up to standard. The fines are expensive, as inspections start at $500 per inspection and special environmental cleaners will likely be required. All property owner’s are responsible for knowing what is going on in their premises and are responsible for meeting City bylaws, as such the City recommends that landlords regularly inspect their properties

Council is committed to keeping our city safe, clean and drug-free.

Noise Control

The City of Merritt Noise Abatement Bylaw is meant to ensure the peaceable enjoyment of our community. That means no construction noise (including lawnmowers and chainsaws) before 7 am or after 10 pm Contractors wishing to take advantage of early morning and late afternoon coolness can apply to the Public Works Manager for a temporary extension of construction hours. In this process, the affected neighbours are notified so that they know how long the “nuisance” will continue on for.

Properties in industrials zones M1 and M2 are exempt from the current bylaw (under review). These companies do want to be good corporate citizens, however, and so if the plant or mill next to you seems to producing excessive noise, please give them a call directly to see what can be done. Sometimes it is a temporary machine malfunction already scheduled for repair.

The Noise Abatement Bylaw asks that you keep your radio and stereo down to a reasonable level, and to keep your animals quiet and under control.

What do you do if your neighbour isn’t complying? Try talking to them first.

Most issues are best resolved face to face. After working hours noise problems can be reported to the RCMP. And if the problem is consistent and persistent, let Bylaw Enforcement know; before you call keep a log of the date/times when the noise was excessive, type of noise, conditions (windows open?closed?) These logs are vital for Bylaw to prosecute the matter.

Fines for Noise Violations are $100 per offence.

Noise Abatement Bylaw

Street Entertainment

Busking and Street Entertainers require permits

Busking Application

Trucks & Traffic Issues

The Street & Traffic Bylaw deals with a variety of issues from parking to truck routes. Traffic issues are also governed by the Motor Vehicle Act – things like parking the wrong way being illegal, as is parking against a yellow curb – and are enforced by Bylaw and the RCMP. Note the RCMP’s fines are considerably higher!

Trucks

Trucks over 16000 kg gross vehicle weight must travel on the City’s designated truck route.

Download Truck Route Map

Trucks may divert off the truck route when they are making a delivery, but they are to use access points closest to the truck route and to have a delivery slip or waybill showing the address they are traveling to. Local contractors with multiple deliveries over 75 cu meters of goods for a single address may apply to Bylaw Enforcement for a preferred route off the truck route.

Trucks over 16000 kg gvw are not allowed to park in P zones (i.e. near churches or schools). They are allowed to park in residential areas only with a permit. Details of the permitting system are contained in the Street & Traffic Bylaw. Basically you are to apply for a permit to City Hall and then apply to renew the permit annually. There is no charge for the permit.

Truck Parking Application

The permit requires that you obtain the consent of your neighbours and the permit may be revoked if there are complaints. Only one permit will be issued per address and the permits are not transferrable. Permits must be prominently displayed in the truck to avoid being fined. Fines are $150 per offence.

RVs

RVs are permitted to park in residential streets only for a two hour limit. In some areas of the City, the boulevard area is suitable for RV parking, but this is on a Permit Only basis. The Bylaw Enforcement Officer will inspect the proposed parking area for such things as traffic visibility impediments before giving approval. The RV Parking on Boulevard application also requires the consent of neighbours both on either side and facing across the street.

Skates & Bicycles

Skateboards, bicycles, inline skates and rollerskates/blades, foot-propelled scooters and similar devices are not allowed on sidewalks in the downtown area. Riders risk confiscation and impoundment of their wheels as well as a fine.

Parades

We love parades! But before you have one, please be sure to apply for a permit from the Public Works Department.

Parade Application Form

Parade Application Form must include a map of the proposed parade route and must be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to event so that all the appropriate authorities can be notified.

Unsightly Premises

We all want Merritt to be the best it can be and a tidy home, yard and neighbourhood helps us put our best foot forward. Unfortunately, not everyone works to the same level, and the City regulates our appearance through the Good Neighbour Bylaw.
The Good Neighbour Bylaw requires that you keep your property and adjoining boulevard/lane from becoming unsightly. This means:

  • NO garbage or junk lying around (including ashes, dead animals, furniture, bedding, crockery, glass, bags, old appliances, tin cans, cardboard, paper and so forth)
  • NO accumulation of mechanical equipment, including bulldozers, graders, backhoes etc., or other heavy construction equipment (unless your property is zoned for it)
  • NO out of control grass and weeds (must be under 20 cm high) and no dead landscaping
  • NO holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, peeling paint, rusting walls or houses that show physical decay, neglect and lack of maintenance
  • NO more than two unlicensed but operable vehicles
  • NO derelict vehicles of any kind (if it can’t be driven, it is derelict)
  • NO grafitti
  • NO broken down or leaning fences
  • NO pools of stagnant water

A reminder that the boulevard and lane adjoining your property is also your responsibility. Property owners are also responsible for keeping these areas cleared of snow within 24 hours of a snowfall in residential areas and by 10 am in commercial areas.

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that shrubs and trees do not impede passage or visibility on sidewalks and roads.

The City is proactive in its enforcement of the Good Neighbour Bylaw. When we notice a property that is not meeting standards, the Bylaw Enforcement Officer will take a photograph and send it along with a letter to the property owner requesting clean up. If the property has not been brought up to standard by the stated date, the City may undertake the work required and the property owner will be billed for the cost of the work along with an additional 15% administrative charge. Unpaid costs are added to the property taxes at the end of the year. The City also has the option of prosecuting uncooperative property owners in court.