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

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.

Just Posted

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

A bear-proof waste container at Lakeside Park. Not all garbage bins at the park are bear-proof. Photo: Tyler Harper
VIDEO: Bear observed eating from garbage bin in Lakeside Park

The City of Nelson is gradually adding bear-proof bins throughout the city

Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tom Thomson. Photo: Tyler Harper
NEWS AND VIEWS: Businesses still need assistance even in a more normal summer

Tom Thomson writes about a new Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce initiative

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read