An acute residential parking problem is surfacing in Chilliwack which is creating both discord and serious ethical failings by some people. Inconsiderate residents who own multiple vehicles, trailers and boats are offloading their parking problems onto their neighbours. There’s a tacit understanding in most communities that the public space on the street in front of a home is prioritized for that homeowner. But, rather than behaving as a good neighbour ought, many park their surplus vehicles in front of the homes of their neighbours, often for several days.
It seems reasonable to me that informing one’s neighbour of your intention to park in front of his home for more than an hour or two is the neighbourly thing to do. The selfishness and insensitivity of certain people has created an obvious moral issue of fundamental fairness that would be evident to most reasonably intelligent five-year-olds. Many refer to this as simply abiding by the golden rule, an ethical adage accepted by cultures throughout the world. I might add that the epidemic of illegal suites with tenants owning vehicles has exacerbated this parking problem. One can witness such appalling behaviours in many environments such as, to cite one example among countless others, those who monopolize exercise machines at the local gym.
With a garage that is typically crammed with the superfluous trappings of our acquisitive consumer culture; it leaves two parking spots in the driveway and one in front of the homeowner’s property. Do the arithmetic folks; if you own more than three vehicles, you can only solve this elementary math conundrum by exploiting your neighbour.
Ostensibly, laws exist to address moral dilemmas created by certain people who refuse to behave in a rational, decent and just manner. Many other cities in the Lower Mainland have eventually found it necessary to impose time constraints on the parking spaces in front of other people’s residences. This may be unfortunate but laws and police forces exist because of the refusal of a certain minority of self-centred egoists who ignore the rights of others. In short, they are not good citizens or neighbours.
Some people need to remind themselves that freedom, like tolerance, is not an absolute.
Chilliwack City Council needs to seriously consider revising their parking bylaws to address this growing problem.
John L Rebman