Cobourg Council – AMP Is A Local Success Story

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Since Administrative Monetary Penalties were introduced in Cobourg last May, Municipal Clerk Brent Larmer said at this week’s meeting of council’s Community Protection and Economic Development standing committee, the success of the program is plain on several fronts.

Begun as a local, accessible dispute-resolution system for municipal bylaw infractions (mostly to do with parking), it offered an alternative to having to take these matters to Provincial Offences Court.

The 337 adjudications that have taken place have not required the services of a Justice of the Peace or time on the court docket, Larmer said.

“For individuals wishing to adjudicate their tickets, it is happening within weeks and not months,” he explained.

“They get before a screening officer to review their tickets and, not long after that, a similar time frame if they wish to appeal to the hearing officer.”

Councillor Brian Darling – not a member of the committee, but sitting in on the meeting – commented that the diversion is likely benefiting the POA system in terms of staff time, and Larmer agreed.

Before the new system, he said, anyone wishing to appeal a ticket was looking at 18 to 20 months, during which time he or she was undoubtedly calling the court now and then asking for an update.

This new system takes less time and garners fewer complaints. And they have even heard expressions of thanks from members of court staff for the reduced case loads.

“They can focus on the more complicated provincial offences like speeding, and not jam up their court system with offences like this,” Larmer said.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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