Saanich staff are collaborating with police to review and improve parking bylaw enforcement in the municipality. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich staff are collaborating with police to review and improve parking bylaw enforcement in the municipality. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich collaborating with police to improve parking enforcement model

Enforcement may shift from police to municipal bylaw officers in 2021

Saanich city staff and police are working to improve the district’s parking enforcement, but for now, complaints about parking violations should be reported to police – although officers note that response times can vary as public safety reports are given priority over parking grievances.

For the past few decades, Saanich police have been responsible for handling parking complaints and enforcement of the district’s related bylaws, explained Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the department. In 2019, Saanich police fielded more than 1,700 parking violation reports and issued 4,400 tickets. Since January, the department received 920 calls related to parking, and he suspects the decrease is related to COVID-19.

In the past, a parking enforcement officer would handle issuing municipal tickets for violations and respond to complaints. Over the last 28 years, the position was held by two individuals – one for 26 years and the next for two years.

After the most recent parking enforcement officer retired in January, the position has been vacant and created a “service delivery gap,” Anastasiades said.

On-duty officers now field parking complaints along with all other calls, and parking infractions “often fall on the lower end of the spectrum,” he explained. Matters involving a driver with no insurance or a car blocking a fire hydrant are “higher priority because they have to do with public safety.”

When Saanich council voted to increase the number of unrelated occupants permitted to share a home in June, those who opposed the increase listed street parking as one of the top concerns. Council committed to re-evaluating the parking regulations as part of the strategic plan check-in.

Anastasiades noted that the enforcement could shift to bylaw officers in 2021, but for now, parking violations can be reported to Saanich police at 250-475-4321.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

District of SaanichparkingSaanich Police Department