Terry M. just wanted to go on a little vacation to get some peace and quiet after a rough year amid COVID-19.
He got that, but then came home to a warning from the City of Burnaby that nearly ended in his vehicle being towed – from right in front of his home.
“Obsolete parking bylaw provision now being enforced with drastic and unintended consequences,” reads the start of a letter Terry has written to the city.
He wrote the letter after getting a 72-hour warning for parking on the street in front of his Burnaby home while he was away on vacation.
“I am writing you today because it has come to my attention that Burnaby Bylaw enforcement is now enforcing Paragraph 13(3)(d) of the Street and Traffic Bylaw 1961. That Paragraph states: "No person shall park a vehicle d) at any one place on any street for a longer period than 24 consecutive hours.
“This provision is being applied even to citizens parking their cars on the street in front of their own houses. What this means is that in order to comply with the Bylaw, every citizen would have to move their car each and every day. Applied comprehensively, this Bylaw paragraph would create havoc for people taking vacations, people who have cars but take transit or cycle to work, people who don't use their cars on weekends, people who work from home during Covid, retired or disabled people who use their cars only occasionally, etc.
“In my discussion with the Bylaw department I was told that this provision is being administered on an anonymous complaints basis, so there is the obvious potential for enforcement of this provision being used to target inter-neighbour friction. I was also told that, for example - people being away on vacation - that these people would ‘have to make other arrangements for parking their cars’ to avoid enforcement. This seems impractical. It seems evident to me that requiring citizens to move their vehicles each and every day or risk a municipal penalty is not part of what makes Burnaby an efficient, neighbourly, climate-change aware and generally excellent city to live in.”
Not everyone will be sympathetic to Terry’s plight. Sympathy has been in short supply for anyone who wants to park in front of their own home.
But Terry makes a good point about neighbours using the rule to punish someone over grievances when parking isn’t actually an issue.
What do you think is the solution? Does this bylaw need changing? Do you want to see permit parking add like in Vancouver?
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.