You might have been subject to a serious ticket for an ash on the street or unauthorised parking in Ixelles over the past weeks. Why has this commune decided to fine the citizens as highly? To fight against discourtesy in town, of course!
Some of the minor infractions can now lie within administrative fines. Many of them are concerned about that (sorting waste, leaving an ash, spitting or peeing in the street etc.). Ixelles found this solution to reduce the congestions in the local courts and the cases are then directly dealt with by the commune. In the future, the local political leaders hope it will make the commune more enjoyable for all the citizens and increase their quality of life.
As Bertrand de Buisseret -an Ixelles civil servant in charge of discourtesy- explained recently, the fines can reach from €1 to €350, depending on the infraction and the behaviour the person involved in this infraction had when (s)he was found responsible of breaching the law. The system may seem a bit authoritarian, but it aims to be pedagogic and to teach how to behave in the public area. To reach the goals Ixelles hope, Mr. de Buisseret sometimes convokes children and teenagers with their parents, to explain them to which extent it is important to comply with the law in society.
But end of discourtesy is not only about paying fines. Ixelles does try to make the sanctions as beneficial as possible. Grégory Herbert, an Ixelles ombudsman, may propose not to pay a fine, but to make a task or provide the commune with an efficient work. Alternative measures can then be offered to the infringers to be useful for everyone. He explained a hotel owner recently was found guilty of an infraction of waste processing, as he left a wasting bag on the street on a wrong day. Instead of paying a fine, he held a conference on waste sorting for young people. As Mr. Herbert said, “it is often more effective on a long term perspective than a fine is”. He is moreover used to holding meetings with the infringers and the victims of minor infractions, which can make the conflict over without the authorities fine the infringers.
Therefore, if you do not want to get a high-price fine for any discourtesy, you should be careful about the way you behave and think about the other citizens. And it will probably make life in Ixelles better for everyone!