An out-of-town visitor has raised objections with Sackville’s winter parking legislation, saying the strict enforcement of the bylaw may leave tourists and residents with an unfriendly impression of the community.
Rob Christie, who is from Nova Scotia and was visiting his son earlier this winter, said he was issued a ticket on Dec. 8 for overnight parking along the side of the street – which irked him for a number of reasons.
First of all, Christie said he’s not from Sackville so wasn’t aware of the town bylaw. As well, he pointed out that there is no signage in that area of town to indicate that there is an overnight parking ban in effect from Dec.1 to May 1. And, most importantly, he said, on the date the ticket was issued there was no snow on the ground or in the forecast.
“I feel strongly that the bylaw should provide for the use of some discretion on the part of the bylaw officer,” Christie stated in a letter to Sackville town council.
He suggested that out-of-town guests, who would be identified by their license plates, should first be issued warnings, rather than tickets, to make them aware of the rules that are in place.
Christie said the way the bylaw is being implemented would certainly seem like a way to aggravate not only tourists but residents as well.
“It appears to be more of a money grab than an effort to ensure compliance when snow build-up requires removal,” he said.
Rob’s son Adam agrees.
“I take issue with the lack of discretion by the bylaw officer in awarding this ticket . . . I feel a simple warning would have sufficed,” he wrote in a subsequent letter to the town.
Adam said issuing a warning would not only serve to educate the out-of-province vehicle owners but also the homeowners about the bylaw.
Christie also points out that a $50 fine is rather a steep price to pay and the town should consider initiating a different fine level for those who pay immediately. And there should be a way to contest the ticket at the municipal level, he said.
Coun. Bill Evans said he brought Christie’s concerns to the bylaw committee but they have decided to leave the legislation as is. He said the bylaw enforcement officer does have discretion to issue warnings, rather than tickets, and has done so in the past.
“The aim is to get vehicles off the road for snow clearing,” said Evans, adding that just because there’s no snow on the ground doesn’t mean tickets won’t be issued.