Saanich is shifting parking enforcement from police to its bylaw officers. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich is shifting parking enforcement from police to its bylaw officers. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich set to hire bylaw officers, shift parking complaints off police

Hope is to install new system by May

Saanich has a new parking enforcement model to transfer management of infractions from police to municipal bylaw officers.

On Feb. 1, council unanimously supported a staff recommendation to hire three full-time bylaw officers to enforce parking, traffic and street-related bylaws.

In a report submitted to council, Brent Reems, Saanich’s director of building, bylaw, licensing and legal services, recommended the shift.

According to Reems, parking ticket revenue could be about $120,000, meaning the net cost for the new enforcement model will be $246,000 – though he noted parking tickets were recently raised from $25 to $50 so revenue could be higher.

The review of the parking enforcement model came at the request of council. In June 2020, Saanich increased the number of unrelated occupants permitted to share a home and, in response to concerns raised by those who opposed the increase, committed to reevaluating parking regulations.

“Our review has made it clear that bylaw enforcement is an area that is under-resourced in the district,” Reems said during a presentation to council. Compared to similar municipalities, “Saanich has not kept pace.”

Saanich Police Chief Scott Green wrote to council in support for the new enforcement model. For the past several decades, a parking enforcement police officer was responsible for handling parking complaints and enforcement. However, the position has been empty since early 2020 leaving on-duty officers to field parking issues along with all other calls.

Council directed staff to accommodate the funding requirements in the 2021 budget so the new parking enforcement model can be implemented in May.

Aside from the new bylaw officers, a part-time bylaw clerk will be hired and the position of manager of bylaw and licensing services will be created. Parking enforcement will also be extended to weekends and evenings, and a Bylaw Notice Enforcement Ticketing system will be implemented to streamline the process of issuing and disputing tickets.


@devonscarlett
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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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