Councillors Jesse Woodward and Brittny Anderson discuss parking meters at Monday’s council meeting. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson council offers amnesty for $50 parking fines

Reduced fine of $15 includes $5 contribution to infrastructure for biking and walking

Nelson council voted Monday to send a notice to anyone in the area with unpaid $50 parking meter fines, offering an amnesty of $15 if paid before Jan. 19.

The move is an attempt to get old fines off the system as the city switches to new parking software and enforcement system.

Councillor Rik Logtenberg said he sees the parking amnesty as revenue recovery.

“But there is a moral hazard for offering an amnesty,” he said. “People might say, well, I will wait until the next amnesty. But we are not saying you don’t have to pay your tickets. We are recognizing that for many people it either blew off their windshield or they forgot about it.

“Sometimes you have to experiment with these things. For some people it will inspire them to go and see if they have an expired ticket.”

The plan presented by management staff was that $5 of the $15 would go to a charity.

But, led by Logtenberg and councillor Brittny Anderson, council decided instead that the $5 would go toward the city’s active transportation plan.

Active transportation, a term often used by governments, actually means walking and biking, and creating infrastructure that encourages those ways of getting around the city. (It also often includes streets and sidewalks that are wheelchair friendly.)

“If more people are using different means of transit rather than cars there might actually be more parking in town,” Anderson said.

Mayor John Dooley and finance manager Colin McClure said that contributing to a charity — Dooley used the Salvation Army as an example — would provide an incentive appropriate to the season.

Logtenberg said a walking and biking fund would also be motivating for many people. “They would be investing in a future for the city, a better transportation system,” he said.

Dooley cautioned that people might see it as paying into something the city already might have a budget for. McClure said there is no actual separate fund for encouraging walking and biking, and how to fund these things would be discussed at the upcoming spring budget meetings.

McClure told the Star after the meeting that coins from parking meters bring the city about $1 million per year, which goes toward streets, sidewalks and other road infrastructure.

He said the city will not be sending amnesty letters to people who live outside the West Kootenay and that many people have multiple parking fines. The result is that the city will send out about 5,500 letters.

Fines incurred by people outside the region will be deleted and not carried over to the new system.

The fines of West Kootenay people who do not apply for the amnesty will be referred to a collection agency. The new software, McClure said, will automatically generate warning letters to drivers at every stage followed by collection agent referrals.

McClure said the city has no authority to prevent owners from renewing their driver’s license, vehicle licence or insurance for non-payment of fines.

He said many municipalities, most recently Whistler, have lobbied the provincial government to enact legislation allowing a community to link parking ticket payments to license renewal, so far with no success.

At Monday’s meeting, councillor Cal Renwick, the only councillor who voted against the motion (councillor Janice Morrison was absent), said the design of the city website makes it hard to pay parking tickets.

McClure said there is a page on the website for paying anything owed to the city including property taxes, but Renwick said there should be a separate traffic ticket payment button on the home page.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Pumpkin carver features police officer killed in off-duty assault in Nelson

Abbotsford’s Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Near the top of Stanley Street in Nelson, a newly installed waterline will soon be joined to an old one that runs into the city from Selous Creek near Ymir, until now used only as emergency backup. The new line will take Selous Creek water to the Mountain Station Reservoir as a more permanent addition to the water supply. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Completion of Selous Creek line improves Nelson’s water supply

Project adds a new source of treated water

Get some help writing your novel at the Nelson Library online this month. Photo: Marcus Aurelius/Pexels
CHECK THIS OUT: Write that novel!

The Nelson Library can help you during National Novel Writing Month

The bobsled race has traditionally been a staple event at the carnival. File photo
Upcoming Rossland Winter Carnival cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis

This is the first time the carnival won’t be held in decades

Touchstones Nelson archivist and collections manager JP Stienne facilitates a members-only, behind-the-scenes tour of the Shawn Lamb Archives. Photo: Submitted
Membership drive begins at Touchstones Museum

Sign up by Nov. 20 to enter into a draw

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read