City of Vernon parking grace period targeted

Vernon residents may get more time to dig out coins for an expired parking meter

Vernon residents may get more time to dig out coins for an expired parking meter.

Council instructed staff Monday to investigate the possibility of creating a five-minute grace period after a meter has expired so a motorist has the ability to get the appropriate change to plug the device.

“Based on the economy and (store) vacancies, there should be a five-minute grace period to encourage people to use downtown,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

Quiring says he was motivated to raise the issue after a shopper recently got a parking ticket while she was attempting to get change in a store, and she was told by city staff it would cost $25 to appeal the ticket.

“You should be able to run in for two seconds and get a toonie.”

Presently, bylaw compliance officers have a three-minute grace period once a meter expires.

Clint Kanester, bylaw compliance manager, says he only has one officer at times patrolling meters and his department’s goal is not to issue as many tickets as possible.

“We try to make sure we’re not overfishing the sea.”

However, Coun. Scott Anderson insists some residents are concerned about meter enforcement.

“There’s a perception of predatory practises of bylaw officers,” he said.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham believes a five-minute grace period could create challenges for staff.

“We can’t expect our bylaw people to be mind readers and guess how long a meter has been sitting empty,” she said.

In another parking matter, there are concerns about employees from the Vernon Health Unit leaving their vehicles on 14th Avenue.

There have been suggestions that the vehicles block visibility for motorists coming out of an adjacent residential complex.

“It can be pretty bad there. If there are cars on both sides of the street, there is only one lane,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.