Paying a parking ticket is voluntary in Saanich.
While it remains an issue in many Saanich neighbourhoods, there are currently no consequences for unpaid parking tickets, meaning there’s no way to enforce compliance, said Coun. Ned Taylor, who is hoping to change the system.
He brought up the matter of voluntary parking penalties during the 2020 budget deliberations in March and again during the June 20 public hearing on unrelated occupancy limits. After voting to increase the number of unrelated people allowed to share a home from four to six, council looked at addressing a key concern raised by residents who opposed the move – parking.
There is “currently no strength in parking enforcement,” Taylor said. He added that tickets are distributed by municipal staff but without specific recourse, it’s not a good use of staff resources and is a source of missed revenue for the District.
Brent Reems, director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services, explained that while penalties are currently voluntary, “if a parking violation occurs and a ticket is issued, Saanich expects that the fine will be paid.” He added that the sooner the payment is received, the lower the cost.
According to Saanich’s Streets and Traffic Regulation bylaw, the “voluntary penalty” for a ticket paid within a week is $20. The penalty increases to $25 after seven days and to $30 after 45 days, Reems explained. He added that per the existing bylaw, if the ticket is paid in a timely manner, “no further steps will be taken in prosecution.” However, if the voluntary penalty is ignored, Reems said the District can take enforcement action.
He noted that the province’s Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act allows municipalities and regional districts to implement a bylaw notice adjudication system to streamline the ticketing and dispute processes.
“The District has adopted a bylaw authorizing use of the new ticketing system but is still in the process of putting operational processes in place to use it for parking violations,” he said. “Staff are working on implementing the new ticketing process for use in the near future.”
During the June 20 public hearing, council also passed a motion to address street parking regulations during the next strategic plan check-in which Mayor Fred Haynes said will take place in September.
Taylor is hopeful that ongoing work between the bylaw division and Saanich police will address the issue.
“We do need to have that tool available and use it right,” he said, emphasizing that that goal is not to go out and distribute tickets for minor infractions but to address the major violations and residents’ concerns.