Some people in Coalmont have been breaking the law but nobody knew it. That is, until letters arrived, followed by visits from the Penticton bylaws officer.

It seems that he took offence at some of the cultural icons that we have around town. These archeological treasures were monuments to a past era of automotive history, a tribute to our lifestyle, and a colourful feature of the local landscape. If only a few people saw real beauty, others at least saw material value.

OK, so values vary from person to person. The “Cars of Coalmont” were just junk to some and I don’t doubt that at least several people are glad to see them gone. The point is that there were no complaints. Not even rumours. Until now.

The officer wanted some of these vehicles removed. Exactly why is not certain. Are we talking about “untidy and unsightly premises”? Although RDOS has three bylaws with that title, they only apply to areas C, D, and E. I couldn’t find any such bylaw which applies here in area H.

I was shown one letter that refered to Land Use Bylaw No. 1725, which does apply to us. However, the way I read it there is nothing in there about vehicles, unless you are operating a “home occupation”, meaning home business. The person who showed me the letter does not run a business, and has the income tax records to prove it. Still, the officer persisted.

Does the bylaws officer actually have the authority to do this, and if so, under what act? It would certainly appear that he made the wrong call in the one situation. Maybe I’m wrong, that wouldn’t be the first time, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Neighbours are very tolerant of each other here and when someone comes from out of town and enforces a law that we didn’t know we had you have to wonder what is going on. Are there any other hidden laws just waiting to be enforced? Hopefully we will find out. At the very least we need to know what the law is so that people can avoid breaking it.