A Saanich community leader wonders why Saanich does not do more to combat illegal parking on public land.
Ken Whitcroft, a former president of the the Quadra-Cedar Hill Community Association, says the municipality can offer more education and enforcement to protect public land along Linwood Avenue.
“I would like to see it [education and enforcement] at a level that corrects the problem,” he said.
Specifically, Whitcroft appears concerned about residents who park their vehicles on local boulevards, which Saanich defines as the portions of any road other than the “paved, improved or main travelled roadway, driveway, or sidewalk” under the jurisdiction of the municipality.
Whitford’s argument rests on Saanich’s boulevards management bylaw, which states that no person shall “[park] or allow to be parked any vehicle boat or trailer, upon any landscaped boulevard.”
The fine for the first offence under the bylaw is not less than $25 up to a maximum of not more than $500. Whitford also added that the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act prohibits parking on areas identified as boulevard.
Whitcroft who grew up in the neighbourhood, appears especially concerned about a section of the eastern side of Linwood Avenue near its intersection with Inverness Road.
Whitcroft said this particular issue is not unique to his neighbourhood.
“It’s happening everywhere,” he said. “It’s public land that is being used for private use.”
Whitcroft said his biggest concern is Saanich’s refusal to protect its own investment.
“They [Saanich] are not even bothering to educate the people, they are not enforcing this, because, as long as they don’t enforce it, people keep assuming that they can do it,” he said.
To the unfamiliar eye, the issue does not appear to be pressing, with only a handful of vehicles parked on unpaved public land on the eastern side of Linwood Avenue near the intersection with Inverness Road.
A paved section of sidewalk on the western side of Linwood near its intersection with Inverness Road also discourages parking on public land, and residents living closer to the intersection of Linwood Avenue and Cook Street have started to park on the street. Others, meanwhile, have placed rocks on the edge of the boulevard to discourage parking.
This said, the unpaved ground underneath the vehicles parked on the eastern side of Linwood appears uneven, even chewed up, and Whitcroft said in earlier presentation to council last month that Saanich risks additional damage to the ground as well as local trees unless it seriously stops people from illegally parking on the boulevard.
Whitcroft said he has been raising this issue since 2000, and he will continue to protect the character of his neighbourhood.
“What is really annoying me is the money that is spent, and the municipality’s refusal to enforce the bylaw that basically protects this type of investment,” he said. “It’s just sad.”
Sgt. Jereme Leslie said police have received 28 complaints for parking and issued 27 tickets for parking violations on Linwood Avenue between Cook Street and Tolmie Avenue for all of 2017 and until this week.
However, the issued tickets do not specifiy the violated bylaw, he said.