If you’ve currently got a boat or recreational vehicle parked on a city street – or even the area in front of your property adjacent to the street – you may want to start looking at where else it could live.
It was suggested to the city late last year that it should begin proactively enforcing “some of the common, chronic and long-term bylaw infractions throughout the city,” and, in particular, “the parking on the boulevard of trailers, boats and vehicles adjacent to an owner’s property,” according to a staff report submitted to council at this week’s meeting. So council asked staff to look into how big a problem that actually is.
It turns out that if the city wanted to proactively enforce its bylaw surrounding on-street parking, it should expect that bylaw officers would see an immediate file increase of 50 per cent.
Right now, the city’s bylaw enforcement policy is that enforcing “health and safety issues” may be initiated by bylaw officers, while “quality of life issues” are initiated by public complaint. Boulevard and on-street residential parking is considered a “quality of life issue.”
“When the city takes action on these ‘quality of life’ complaints they are often faced with a disillusioned property owner crying foul that the city isn’t fairly administering its bylaws because, ‘Why isn’t the city dealing with other residents that are doing the same thing?’” says the report received by council this week.
And there certainly are “other residents that are doing the same thing.”
When city staff went out to research the extent of the problem, they found a total of 465 vehicles contravening the city bylaw. Most of these contraventions were vehicles parked not on the street, but on the “inside of the curb,” which would fall under “boulevard” in the bylaw.
“The boulevard is defined as that area of public road allowance that lies between the paved portion of the street and the front boundary of the adjacent property,” the report reads. “This area would include sidewalks and ditches.”
Unfortunately, one possible solution to the problem – asking owners to store their vehicles properly at off-site private storage facilities – isn’t really an option.
At the nine Campbell River storage facilities, only one has space available for boats or RVs – and it only has room for four.
The staff report this week gave council four options: to leave things as they are – continuing to enforce on-street parking infractions on a complaint basis – start proactively enforcing the bylaw immediately or issue warnings and give residents six months to relocate their vehicles before beginning proactive enforcement.
But council decided on Monday night that while the situation needs to be addressed, the city needs to take a serious look at all facets of this situation before making a decision on whether or not to begin proactively enforcing the bylaw instead of waiting for complaints.
“There’s a lot to digest, not only in terms of what’s there, but also in how to potentially deal with it,” says Mayor Andy Adams.
“I think the proper venue for that is a Committee of the Whole (meeting)” suggested Coun. Claire Moglove, agreeing with Adams, “so we can discuss whether we want to go with any of the recommendations or exactly what we want to do on this issue.”
So for now, complaint-driven enforcement will remain in place, but change could be coming.