This section will explain the tools available and who can use these tools to enforce land use planning tools and plans.
When it comes to enforcement of the Act and its various by-laws and regulations, the Minister has substantial powers. However, in some cases, only the Lieutenant-Governor in Council has specific powers.
The Minister may choose not to approve a by-law if it is in the public’s interest.
In situations where the Minister believes a local government is not conforming to a regional plan, or is not conforming or enforcing its municipal plan, rural plan or a by-law made by the local government, the Minister can order the local government to comply.
If a local government fails to comply with the Minister’s order, the Minister, with certain notifications in the Royal Gazette, can exercise all the powers of the Act on the council.
There are times when inspections must be done on properties to ensure they are complying with land use and development legislation or orders. The Provincial Planning Director, a development officer, or a person authorized by the Minister may enter on to a property, at reasonable times with the consent of the owner or occupant, if they believe that a development or building violates the Act, a regulation, a by-law or an order under the Act.
It is important to note that entry can only happen if consent of the owner or occupier has been given or if the person wanting to enter the property has obtained an entry warrant under the Entry Warrants Act.
After the inspection, if something is found to not be in compliance, a written order may be served on the owner, operator, or occupant of the land, building or premises.
If there is a violation of the Community Planning Act, a regulation under the Act, or a by-law, the Provincial Planning Director, or council, a development officer, building inspector or other person authorized by the Provincial Planning Director or council may order:
- The cessation of the development (stop work order);
- The altering of the development so that it complies; and
- Doing anything required to restore the land, building or structure to its condition before the development took place.
When an order is given, it must be in a specific form as described in the Act and be served on the owner of the land, building or structure by personal delivery (in person) or by registered mail (the person receiving the order has a specific period of time to comply, and must comply with the order and at their own cost.)
If someone fails to comply with the order, the Provincial Planning Director or council may undertake work to bring the property into compliance and recover the costs for the work through court action. These costs would be considered a lien on the property.
A local government, the Minister or a person designated by council or the Minister may make an application to the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick or a judge of that court if someone fails to comply with various provisions in the Act, a by-law or regulation under the Act. The judge then has specific authorities to order the development into compliance.
When there is an offence, the Act indicates fines can be levied by a judge. A listing of the category of offence for Act violations can be found in Schedule A. The corresponding fine amounts for each offence category can be found in the Provincial Offences Procedure Act.