During the very last Municipal Policing Advisory Board (MPAB) meeting before it will be disbanded come 2024, it was made known to the board that commercial vehicle inspections continue to be a priority for the city's Municipal Enforcement, according to Team Leader Brian Rayner. 

Rayner who presented at last week's MPAB meeting said that the number of commercial vehicles passing inspection is very low.

"At this point, we've got three CVSA-trained officers now and this is a priority simply because in 2023, we had 79 inspections; 10 per cent passed, with 56 per cent being removed from this automatically," he said. "The [other] 34 per cent had deficiencies that they had to correct and report back to us. Going forward next year, this is still going to be a major priority for us - to set up more check stops, more inspections with our partner agencies."

During a Municipal Policing Advisory Board meeting last week, Brian Rayner, the Team Lead for the City's Municipal Enforcement presented numbers on commercial vehicle inspections. (Graphic Credit to City of Airdrie / Municipal Enforcement)During a Municipal Policing Advisory Board meeting last week, Brian Rayner, the Team Lead for the City's Municipal Enforcement presented numbers on commercial vehicle inspections. (Graphic Credit to City of Airdrie / Municipal Enforcement)

Megan Brown, a citizen member of the MPAB said that the numbers are indeed alarming and asked if there are more proactive ways that can be employed in order to combat the issue.

"We are really concentrating on the enforcement and these numbers are not unique to Airdrie - these are Alberta-wide," Rayner added. 

Rayner said that the proximity of the Balzac Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station may also factor into the statistics.

"What trucks often do is they try to bypass the weigh scale and go through the back end of Airdrie. That's why we set up check stops there regularly to intervene. So we do have more of a reactive and an intervention."

During the discussion, Councillor Ron Chapman alluded to a conversation he had had with Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver as well as Airdrie-Cochrane MLA and Minister of Infrastructure, Peter Guthrie.

"We made it known that we want the weigh scale moved farther north because that is what's happening in the community - they're avoiding the weigh scale and coming up that way," Councillor Chapman said. "Not only for that reason but also for the economic reasons for Airdrie, because there's a lot of companies that don't want to come to Airdrie because of the fact where the weigh scale is -  [We're] just looking forward to being moved."

Apart from the commercial vehicle inspection priorities, Rayner also presented the board with other statistics from the City's Municipal Enforcement, including numbers of bylaw complaints, as well as a breakdown of how many tickets bylaw officers handed out and what the violations were for.

aDuring a Municipal Policing Advisory Board meeting last week, Brian Rayner, the Team Lead for the City's Municipal Enforcement presented statistics regarding the Traffic Safety Act and its enforcement in the city. (Graphic Credit to City of Airdrie / Municipal Enforcement)

"We did have an increase in our fines for moving violations, non-moving violations and TSA [Traffic Safety Act]. They really coincided with the arrival of one new police officer and our Traffic Safety Officer," Rayner explained. "We've seen about a 20 per cent increase in tickets given. One thing that you probably will notice from 2021 to 2023 is that general bylaw files have decreased significantly."

Rayner added that the option of body-worn cameras for municipal enforcement officers is still on the table, though as Inspector Lauren Weare, the Airdrie RCMP Detachment Commander noted during the meeting, the pilot project that had been implemented for the RCMP with regard to body-worn cameras caused a delay in the roll-out of the cameras being implemented for Mounties.

"There were three detachments in Alberta that ran the pilot and what was discovered, was the actual model and make of the body-worn camera didn't actually meet the needs that we required. They're moving to a different vendor," she said. "Basically, we are going to be now aligned with what the bulk of policing agencies across the country use. It's a little bit of a delay, [but] there won't be any delays once they start rolling them out."

Insp. Weare briefly summarized the second quarter crime statistics for the city, citing a downward trend in persons and property crimes.

"From 2022 to 2023, there was a 10 per cent decrease in the total Criminal Code [offences], [a] 16 per cent decrease in person crime, a two per cent [decrease] in property crime, and a 25 per cent decrease in other criminal code [offences]," Insp. Weare said. "Since the 40th Avenue [interchange] has opened up - there is an impressive decrease in the amount of traffic volume on Yankee Valley [Boulevard]."

While the MPAB will be disbanded effective January 1, along with the Community Services Advisory Board, Environmental Advisory Board, and Municipal Planning Commission, there is a new committee structure will be put into place in the coming months. 

According to City documents, there will be a Standing Committee, which will, 'provide advice and decision-making authority for Council as directed by Council policy or on matters referred by Council for a sustained period'. Standing Committees may include Community Infrastructure and Strategic Growth, Community Services, Corporate Services, as well as Community Safety and Social Services. 

While an Advisory Committee will, 'provide advice and recommendations as directed by Council for a sustained period.' Thus far, the Airdrie Board of Youth Affairs has been delegated as an Advisory Committee. 

Lastly, Quasi-Judicial Boards will, 'act as a governing body with decision-making authority and provide quasi-judicial functions mandated as per provincial legislation." These boards may include the Assessment Review Board, a General Appeal Board, and a Subdivision and Development Appeal Board.

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