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Saturday, August 13, 2022
‘Slow down’: NOTLer says bylaw officer was aggressive after being asked not to speed

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Laurie Stratton isn’t happy with a town bylaw officer he said was speeding though his neighbourhood, or how the officer treated him after he approached him to voice concerns about it.

Stratton emailed The Lake Report, local politicians and town staff saying he witnessed a bylaw officer speeding down Delater Street where he was walking his dog on Friday, May 29.

He complained the driver of a dark-coloured Ford Explorer was “aggressively speeding” in wet conditions and rounded the “blind curve at Queen’s Royal Park (the Gazebo) to King Street in a careless and dangerous manner.”

“When he went around the corner I could see a couple of treads on the tire on the driver's side where he took the corner that quick, in the rain. That's when I just went, 'Whoa,' ” he said in an interview.

It was immediately evident there was an “emergency parking infraction being attended to by the young bylaw officer at the public parking lot across from the Gazebo on King Street,” Stratton said in his letter.

When he approached the officer to calmly ask him to slow down, the male officer was belligerent to him, Stratton told The Lake Report. 

He was “instantly admonished by the young man, with crossed arms and an aggressive stance,” Stratton wrote in his letter.

“He was aggressive, downright aggressive. And I started with 'I really appreciate the job you guys are doing’ — to try and keep it positive,” he said.

After that he said he asked the officer to slow down in the neighbourhood because “there's no need for you to drive that fast when you're not going to a crime scene. And he just immediately stepped up and said, ‘I’ll drive 50/km an hour everywhere, wherever I want to.' And then he came right out and said, ‘And I've had several people in the neighbourhood yell at me to slow down in this neighbourhood.’  Well, why don't you get the message?”

From Stratton's home he said he can see onto Delater Street and he sees bylaw vehicles “zipping around all the time.”

“And this vehicle is typically driving fast,” he said.

He said his concern is for himself and neighbours.

“We walk around the Delater district. For most of Delater there's no sidewalk, so you have to walk on the road,” he said.

“I’m walking my dog. Other people walk their dogs around here. There are still kids that ride their bicycles around here. They ride down the Balls Beach and the area. So, I just find it dangerous.”

He said he’d like to see the town remind bylaw enforcement officers they “work for the people in the town.”

“You know, you have a job to do, but don't go overboard. Don't let power go to your head, which is what's happened. And that was so obvious with his reaction to me.”

Town of NOTL spokesperson Lauren Kruitbosch said the municipality is “not prepared to comment at this time,” as the matter is pending an internal investigation.