Bylaw 1/2024 - Structure Standard Bylaw

Link for Structure Standard Bylaw - LINK

Structure Standard Bylaw – FAQ

The Town of Swan River council passed the Structure Standard Bylaw on April 16, 2024 to be in force on June 1, 2024. This is an FAQ for our residents so they can understand how this bylaw affects them and their community.

(This FAQ is a guide for a bylaw; for any conflicts between this and the bylaw, the bylaw takes precedence)

  • What is this Bylaw?
    1. This bylaw is a minimum standard for how Structures (houses, garages, sheds, etc.) both appear and whether they are maintained or not.
    2. This bylaw works a lot like our existing Maintain Property and Regulate Unsightly Property Bylaw in that we are regulating rules for private property. This bylaw is nuanced towards Structures, specifically how a Structure appears and if it is in poor maintenance.
  • How does this Bylaw work?
    1. Our Bylaw Officer on patrol or on response to complaints will inspect properties for compliance.
    2. For properties in question, we have developed an Evaluation Matrix, where various facets of the structure are scored. If a property scores in the enforceable range, fines/warnings may be issued.
  • How does the Evaluation Matrix work?
    1. See Schedule A - Structure Standard -   Evaluation Matrix
    2. Every property rated will be scored and fall under one of these three categories:
      • No Action – meaning we have no concerns.
      • Structure of Concern – meaning there are concerns, but they are not serious enough to warrant a fine
      • Unsightly Structure – meaning there are serious concerns that must be addressed and we will be conducting enforcement.
    3. We are guided by the idea of precedent. Two surveys were conducted across town where properties were rated. This rating system is now the initial basis of what will become a set of precedents to help us establish when a property needs to be fined.
    4. There are two key factors (physical aspects of the structure and their condition/status):
      • Physical aspects of a building are things which can be seen such as windows, siding, paint, or eavestroughs.
      • For condition/status we look at whether these things are broken, loose, deteriorated, warped, or are unsightly in some way.
    5. You can see the full criteria in the bylaw under sections 4 and 5.
  • What would be some examples of enforceable properties?
    1. First example, a window with a single crack through it is common and not enforceable, however if a window’s pane is shattered, has a gapping hole, or is broken into shards, this is enforceable.
    2. Second example, several homes had loose eavestroughs. This is common and most homeowners fix this in the springtime. However, if half your eavestrough is hanging down this is enforceable.
  • What is a Structure of Concern?
    1. There were many properties we looked at that could use some maintenance. They were not in bad shape, but they weren’t in good shape either. We agreed they should not be fined.
    2. We have a buffer zone in our Evaluation Matrix which we call “Structure of Concern.”
    3. We will not fine a property that receives this rating; however the bylaw officer may write them a Courtesy Notification advising the owner that if their property deteriorates further it may become enforceable.
  • What do I do if I get a ticket?
    1. Our Bylaw officer has the discretion to hand out warnings (14 days to fix the issue) or to issue fines outright.
    2. For issues which will take further than two weeks to fix, property owners may screen their penalty notice and request a compliance agreement. This agreement sets a workable date for which you will have your property in compliance. Failure to comply with this date will result in fines.