The Village of Burns Lake has recently installed two short-term parking signs and one loading zone sign along Hwy. 16 – between Centre Street and First Avenue – to increase parking options for people spending money on local businesses.
However, according to councillor Kelly Holliday, who owns a business in that section of the highway, the new signs have been causing “confusion” among local business owners and residents.
Holliday says one the most frequent complaints she’s been hearing is that one of the short-term parking signs – located in the middle of that highway section – cannot be seen by drivers since it does not face upcoming traffic.
“It should be placed at an angle that drivers can see when they are approaching the village,” she said.
In addition, the loading zone sign was installed at the west end of that highway section, away from the majority of businesses in that area.
“The location of the loading zone has been a big topic of discussion,” said Holliday. “They said it’s of minimal value to the businesses who require its usage; they asked for it to be moved closer to businesses.”
“These are all questions that I’ve been bombarded with,” she added during last week’s council meeting.
When it comes to enforcement of the new parking rules, the RCMP cannot issue tickets since the village does not have a ticketing bylaw.
“There have been numerous discussions between staff and council about a ticketing bylaw, but we have nothing in place,” explained Rob Krause, Burns Lake’s director of protective services. “And without that, the RCMP cannot issue tickets.”
Under the village’s current traffic regulation bylaw, which was last updated in 1981, the village can issue a $300 fine on summary conviction. However, Krause said this might not be in the best interest of the municipality.
“It will cost us three times that amount to collect it, if we can even collect it,” he said.
Holliday said that issuing $300 fines would hurt the local economy.
“Speaking on behalf of all business owners in town, I think every single one of us would just die if a customer of our businesses got a $300 fine, so I hope that that’s not the route that we’ll decide to take,” she said.
Krause said the village has considered other options such as asking local businesses to assist with enforcement by placing a “parking notice” underneath the vehicles’ windshield wipers.
In the end, council decided to schedule another meeting with local business owners and building owners to hear more about their ideas and gather feedback.
Council also carried a motion for staff to develop a ticketing bylaw, which would give the RCMP the ability to issue tickets. However, this bylaw will not be developed until early next year.