District pares down road rules

North Saanich council finds consensus on streets and traffic bylaw

Fine-tuning of the streets and traffic bylaw in North Saanich has brought council closer to a consensus on the district’s new rules of the road. Yet there is more work to be done, says council, especially on the corresponding municipal ticketing bylaw.

Initially begun to address an ongoing conflict between residents in Dean Park and the owner of a tow truck, it has grown to encompass a variety of local driving rules. The streets and traffic bylaw is designed to tackle current and future traffic and parking issues. It’s first incarnation, however, was not to the liking of most councillors who asked staff to remove portions of it they felt were irrelevant to North Saanich and simply drawn from other communities.

“This one is pretty close to what we want,” said Councillor Elsie McMurphy, noting that sections of the bylaw dealing with bridges and railroads have been removed.

She added she hoped the document would remain robust when it’s completed, keeping much of it intact to ensure the district won’t have to go through the same lengthy process once a traffic or parking issue arises.

“We need it to be comprehensive,” said Coun. Celia Stock. “It’s hard to keep bringing it back again and again.”

Stock urged council to find a level of consistency between North Saanich’s bylaw and that in the neighbouring communities of Sidney and Central Saanich.

Council, for the most part agreed with the content of the streets and traffic bylaw. They differed more on the municipal ticketing bylaw — the regulation that is required to enforce the rules in the district streets and traffic document.

“It’s much improved,” noted Coun. Craig Mearns, adding some aspects of it are harsh.

He lobbied to remove tickets for, among others, pulling over on district roads to sleep and to park facing the wrong direction.

“I see it all the time in our municipality. It’s not unsafe.”

Coun. Ted Daly said he has a few items he wants removed as well, but for the most part, is pleased with the balance being achieved in both bylaws. Mayor Alice Finall added that, in the end, the bylaws are not just for the future but for current issues as well.

Chief administrative officer Rob Buchan asked that councillors with proposed changes to the bylaws get a list in to staff soon, to facilitate a revision prior to a final vote by council on June 24.