SUMMERSIDE — City council is considering changes to its overnight winter parking ban.
Coun. Peter Holman, chairman of the city’s police committee, said he would be reviewing the parking restriction with the chief of police.
The ban allows municipal workers clear access for snow removal operations, but since there is neither snow on the ground nor in the forecast, the necessity of an overnight parking ban is being questioned.
“It hasn’t been discussed here yet,” Holman said. “That just came out the other day in Charlottetown. I’ll address it with (Police Chief) Dave (Poirier). He’s expected back this weekend.”
Charlottetown city council has begun the process to change its overnight winter parking bylaw to match Halifax's, where the city posts advisories on nights snow plows are out and drivers can expect to be towed and ticketed.
In Summerside, Holman said the overnight parking ban has been in place since Nov. 1, but he doesn’t think any tickets have been issued for vehicles parked on city streets.
Deputy police chief Sinclair Walker said since there is no snow or threat of snow, officers will issue warnings to motorists and not actual tickets at this stage.
“There’s no point in having the parking ban in place at this particular point in time until such time as we know there is going to be some snow,” Holman said.
He said most major cities do not put an overnight parking ban in place until there is the threat of snow.
There is a bylaw on the books dealing with the overnight parking ban, but Holman doesn’t think it will require a council vote to change.
“It will certainly be addressed by council but I don’t expect there would be any objection to it whatsoever. It doesn’t require a bylaw change. It’s just a matter of discussing it and everybody agreeing to it and I don’t expect there would be any objection to it.”
Gordon MacFarlane, head of the city’s legal affairs department, said his office has not been contacted by council to address the issue.
“Neither staff nor I have had any discussion with council on the issue yet,” MacFarlane said. “If they decide they want to go that route, we’d take a look at the operation and see what we would have to do.”
The bylaw does have a provision that would allow parking during an overnight ban at the discretion of the chief of police.
Section 12 of the Traffic and Parking Bylaw reads:
“In order to facilitate snow removal from the streets of the city, during the period of Nov. 1 to April 30, no person shall park a motor vehicle on any streets within the city or on any property owned by the city between the hours of 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., except with the permission of the chief of police or his/her designate.”
MacFarlane said the provision allowing exemptions by the chief of police potentially lets the change be made without altering the bylaw but he would have to look at the wording.
“If council decides it wants staff to look into that then we would,” he said.