Traffic bylaw tweak for North Saanich

Will there be enough growth in the District of North Saanich in the coming years to warrant an extensive policy on parking and traffic?

Will there be enough growth in the District of North Saanich in the coming years to warrant an extensive policy on parking and traffic?

That question was at a root of a long council debate over a proposed 16-page street and traffic bylaw that would cover everything from parking restrictions and traffic control devices, to railroad crossings and snow and ice removal.

The bylaw only managed to get so far before council and staff agreed some of it needs change — including the removal of some parts of the document that do not apply to the district, the railroad crossing and snow and ice issues being two.

Some councillors said they felt 16 pages was too large a bylaw for such matters. Councillor Dunstan Browne suggested only a single section was even needed — a regulation against the parking of commercial vehicles (specifically tow trucks) in areas zoned for residential use. Browne said he is not in favour of “extreme regulation.”

“Our business is not to make laws,” Browne said. “Our business is to regulate this community.”

Councillor Celia Stock spoke strongly in favour of the entire bylaw, saying without it the district won’t be able to handle traffic and parking issues as they come up.

“Otherwise, we’ll have to waste more of our time and staff’s time adding more things in later,” she said.

Stock added creating an entire bylaw to deal with a single issue in the community — in this case a long-standing resident complaint about a tow truck — “is silly.”

“This isn’t onerous,” she said. “It is a standard parking bylaw that can be found anywhere else.”

Chief administrative officer Rob Buchan said the bylaw is forward-looking, adding council is currently considering new development that will have an impact on traffic in the community. The bylaw, he said, could help prevent messes in the future.

Council voted to send the bylaw back to staff for some tweaking of parts of the bylaw — something the majority wanted done before they consider its final approval.