Sooke’s bylaw officers, like Medea Mills, issue less than a half dozen tickets a year despite the hundreds of calls that take up their day. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke’s bylaw officers, like Medea Mills, issue less than a half dozen tickets a year despite the hundreds of calls that take up their day. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke’s bylaw enforcement takes a reasoned approach

No need to go trolling for infractions says bylaw officer

The phone at the municipal bylaw office rings with regularity, but Medea Mills, Sooke’s senior bylaw officer, says the town is full of “awesome people” and her job never manages to shake her belief in the good in the human race.

“Sure, sometimes we will come into contact with people who are angry and sometimes they just want to use us as a sounding board, but that’s all part of the gig,” Mills said.

“There are times when people might want to argue about the validity of a particular bylaw, but when they find that we’re just looking to find a resolution to a situation, they tend to calm down pretty quickly. A lot of times they have no idea why we’ve arrived at their door.”

Most of those calls are generated by neighbours who have developed an issue with someone living nearby and are looking for a resource and sometimes some advice on how to deal with a situation.

Often those calls are the result of people just letting their property become a bit of a dumping ground with unlicensed cars, auto parts, and a variety of miscellaneous trash accumulated on the property.

READ ALSO: A question of enforcement

Mills said these can be judgment calls and if she can convince the owner to dispose of some of the trash and organize the rest, the situation is often resolved without difficulty.

Other calls are the result of long-simmering disputes between neighbour in which there is an attempt to use the bylaw office to further a particular side of a feud between neighbours.

“We don’t get involved in civil disputes. People really need to find a way to resolve their own differences. But if a bylaw is being broken we can take some action to resolve the situation,” said Mills.

And although Mills said disputes can become impassioned, her approach has proven itself to be effective.

“We get hundreds of calls every year, but by working with people we can resolve most every situation. Last year we issued a total of four bylaw tickets,” Mills said.

With about 700 bylaws on the books, Mills is called upon to address situations that include parking issues, burning, garbage, business operations and more.

“We don’t go trolling for bylaw infractions. with the number of calls we get, we’re busy enough just following up on complaints.”

Mills is the senior member of a two-officer team which means that she is commonly required to make calls on bylaw offenders by herself.

“I’m not really concerned. We are in radio contact and will call in the RCMP if things get out of hand, but I haven’t had to do that for a very long time.”

She admits that her job experience prior to taking the bylaw officer job might be a contributing factor in her no-nonsense, fearless approach.

“Before I took this job I was a commissionaire and before that, I was a correctional officer at a male maximum security prison,” she said with a smile.

“I can handle bylaw offences without too much trouble.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke resident Nathan Hanson popped both his driver’s side tires on a pothole near a construction site on Sooke Road. Hanson said he was following a line of traffic and was just before the 17 Mile Pub when he drove over the pothole. (Photo contributed/Nathan Hanson)
Driver blows two tires on pothole near construction site on Sooke Road

Ministry of Transportation says keeping highways in good condition a priority

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

Most Read