Plug parking meters for as long as it takes to finish your business downtown, or be faced with an escalating fine that will soon start at $10.
Starting Feb. 1, the cost of a parking ticket, in the first 24 hours, will double from the $5 locals have become accustomed to since 2002. The fine will be $10 for a week until it ultimately rises to $30.
While the change is slight compared to ticket costs in other municipalities, corporate services director Rob Mayne told city councillors the aim is to give parking tickets teeth.
“People would rather pay a $5 fee than park in a parkaid,” he said. “A $10 fee is more incentive to find appropriate parking, rather than roll the dice.”
In addition to convincing locals that tickets aren’t the equivalent of parking passes, the change in policy will also help the city usher in its bylaw adjudication system. This system allows these municipalities to deal with bylaw disputes at the local level rather than through the provincial court system.
Previously, anyone wishing to dispute a bylaw ticket had to appear in a B.C. provincial court, an expensive and time-consuming process for the disputant, the province and municipalities.
And, regardless of the process change, city councillors said it was a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s a fair balance,” said Coun. Angela Reid. “I am personally responsible (for taking) the $5 charge …because I just forget to plug the meter.”
Coun. Luke Stack pointed out that a $10 fine is “cheap” in supporting the bylaw change.