The City of Campbell River is looking to save the taxpayers some money on removal and disposal of abandoned vehicles.
The city gave first and second reading to a bylaw amendment on Monday that would see it be able to deal with abandoned vehicles under a much more streamlined process, according to director of planning Peter Wipper.
Currently, when the city receives a report of an abandoned vehicle, a bylaw officer goes and obtains the make, model, colour license plate number – if there is one – and vehicle identification number (VIN). If the vehicle is posing a safety concern, it is towed immediately and a call is made to the registered owner of the vehicle. If it’s not posing a safety issue, that call is made first, informing the owner that it will be towed if it’s not moved.
In either case, should the vehicle require towing, the tow company will only tow the vehicle and store it at no cost to the city if the vehicle has enough value that the company can recover its costs by auctioning the vehicle off if it’s not claimed by the owner. Should it be claimed, the vehicle owner would pay the tow and storage fees.
If the vehicle doesn’t have enough value, however, the city must pay for the towing and storage of the vehicle at a cost of $90 (on average) for the tow and $30 per day for storage. This storage fee must be paid, according to the city report presented this week, “until the required notification process has been completed. Once that period ends, the city pays again to have the vehicle towed to a wrecker’s yard.
“To avoid storage costs, the Operations Department has allowed vehicles to be stored on city property, however this is not an ideal arrangement because of space constraints,” the report reads, which Wipper says is really the main issue. Under the provincial regulations, the city needs to hold an abandoned vehicle for at least 30 days, but with this bylaw change, which references the BC Transportation Act instead of the Highway (Scenic Improvement) Act, the city would be able to tow the vehicle, store it for 14 days and take it to a wrecker if it remains unclaimed at that time.
“It’s not a lot of money we’re talking about here,” Wipper admits, estimating that “we’re probably talking about maybe $5,400 a year, but any time we can find efficiencies easily just by changing a bylaw like this and streamlining things, it’s well worth doing.”