Parking rules in effect

Traffic and parking fines in North Saanich will cost a maximum of $65

North Saanich’s new street and traffic bylaw is in the books — but only barely.

A narrow 4-3 vote saw the bylaw, which will regulate parking and traffic issues in the municipality, pass at a June 24 special meeting following a round of changes sparked by the concerns of council.

Bylaw officer Bob Jones reported to council that he reviewed the bylaw and reduced its regulations by approximately 40 per cent to accommodate council’s suggested changes. Councillors had asked staff to make changes based on what’s needed in their community — and not base the bylaw on how other municipalities have done things.

In his report, Jones noted that regulation of overtime parking, stopping in bus stops and crosswalks, parking facing the wrong direction, sleeping in a vehicle and misuse of horns, among others, have all been removed.

Fines for traffic offences have been reduced by 40 per cent as well, Jones noted. Instead of a variety of fines in the original proposed bylaw of anywhere from $50 to $200, all fines are set at $65 with an early pay reduction within 30 days to $50.

Councillors Conny McBride and Dunstan Browne said they still did not like the bylaw.

“I’m concerned about the no parking on boulevard segment,” said McBride.

McBride noted that it could have ramifications to places like the Muse Winery which is having issues with off-site event parking.

“Mr. Jones will probably be busy,” she said, “so I am not crazy about this bylaw.”

Browne, who missed the last debate on the bylaw, said he wanted another entire section removed from the bylaw — one that set out allowing enforcement officers reasonable access to property subject to the regulations of the bylaw, “in order to ascertain whether such regulations or directions are being obeyed.”

“Wen you start doing that,” said Browne, “allowing enforcement people to break fundamental property rights, I have a problem.”

Jones said that local government regulations do allow officers to be on people’s property, but not in a home. He said it’s a necessity in the case of an investigation. Chief administrative officer Rob Buchan noted the bylaw had been reviewed by the municipal lawyer and given the green light.

The majority of council decided the one subsection of the bylaw did not warrant delaying it any longer, rejected Browne and McBride’s proposal to delay the vote, and passed it.