Creativity pays off in a lot of ways, but it may not help with parking tickets.
An angry motorist recently wrote in to The Observer after being hit with four $100 parking tickets over the peak tourism season at Harrison Hot Springs after they and their friends elected to pay for one parking pass and park five motorcycles in a single parking stall along Esplanade Avenue.
According to the August 11 ticket, the reason for the fines was “Failure to display valid receipt.” Under remarks, it reads “Payment is required for each motorcycle.” The motorist told The Observer they purchased and displayed one pass, believing paying for and parking the motorcycles each in their own separate spot would have caused other visitors grief, especially during the busy season.
“We all feel that this is unreasonable as well as illegal for [the village] to ticket us in this manner when signage does not indicate the necessity to pay for multiple vehicles in one parking spot,” the letter to The Observer reads. “Further, our implied parking contract with [the village] upon buying a permit for rental of one parking space and parking in it and otherwise meeting all posted conditions has been met.”
“I feel absolutely sure a reasonable person, given the same circumstances, would have done the same thing as we did,” they added.
Was the motorist in the right? Not according to the current local bylaws.
Community services coordinator Rhonda Schell said the village’s pay parking program is not based on renting out stalls and that all vehicles in the pay parking zones are required to purchase a ticket. Furthermore, under Section 27.w. of the Highways and Traffic Bylaw (on page 10), it states that a motor vehicle cannot be parked “in such close proximity to another vehicle as to obstruct or unduly restrict movement of other vehicles.”
Schell stated that there are several smaller stalls along the waterfront reserved for motorcycles, identified with signage and painted decals on the ground.
Had the parking fines paid in seven days, they would be reduced by half to $50 each. The motorist and their friends intend to dispute the tickets, according to the letter to The Observer.
Disputing is well within the motorists’ rights, and the village has a procedure in place for such an occasion. If a motorist were to dispute the ticket, a report of the incident would be forwarded to the local screening officer. The screening officer is independent from the village government and acts as an arbiter for the dispute.
When a screening officer contacts a disputing motorist, they will ask for basic information such as the circumstances of the alleged violation. Should the screening officer be unable to settle the dispute, the disputer can then file for a bylaw adjudication hearing. If the adjudicator finds the alleged violation did in fact occur, the motorist would be subject to an additional $25 adjudication fee to be paid immediately.
This year, the Harrison Hot Springs Village Council voted 4-1 to approve the following fee structure: $2 for the first hour, $3 for the second and $4 for the third.
For five parking passes – one for each motorcycle involved in this incident, assuming the three-hour limit was paid for, this would’ve cost a grand total of $45 for the day.
Schell said the main purpose of the pay parking program is to fund maintenance of the waterfronts, playgrounds and other amenities around the village during peak tourist season.
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