Carmacks council to draft 'less harsh' bylaw, after public outcry

Councillors are going back to the drawing board, after a proposed bylaw on property maintenance standards was denounced as intrusive and extreme.

'We're just going to scrap the old one and start over fresh,' says Mayor Lee Bodie

'It was democracy at its best,' said Carmacks Mayor Lee Bodie, after an animated council meeting on Tuesday. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The village council in Carmacks, Yukon, is scrapping a draft bylaw that would have dictated property maintenance standards in the municipality, and imposed up to $10,000 in fines on those who didn't follow the rules.

The draft document had generated vocal pushback among residents, after it was posted online and around town for public input. Many said they found it too intrusive and extreme for their community of fewer than 600 people.

The backlash culminated in an animated village council meeting on Tuesday night. It was standing-room only in the council chambers.

"[That] was a first for us," said Mayor Lee Bodie. "But, you know, it was democracy at its best."

Around a dozen residents showed up to voice their concerns, including Stuart Harris.

"The bulk of people at that meeting had issues with pretty well every item of that draft bylaw," Harris said.

The village council in Carmacks will now draft a 'less harsh' bylaw dealing with property maintenance standards, the mayor says. (Alexandra Byers/CBC)

Harris said he was impressed by how council treated everyone respectfully, despite heated moments during the conversation.

Mayor Bodie says councillors heard citizens loud and clear, and council will now put together a new bylaw.

"We didn't want to remedy the old one, because it had such a tainted flavour in people's eyes," Bodie said.

"We're just going to scrap the old one and start over fresh… less harsh punishments, less harsh wording… just going to make it more people-friendly."

Bodie says work on the new bylaw won't start until January.