Is this spot taken? Sun Peaks parking can be a challenge

 | February 1, 2013

parking lotCompliance with parking and traffic bylaws improved in 2012 according to the Sun Peaks Municipality, but the bylaws still have unresolved issues that need ironing out according to some residents.

The Parking and Traffic Bylaw, implemented in 2011 broadly provides for prohibitions on parking and stopping vehicles in certain circumstances.

“I think that this year has seen marked improvement on people getting an understanding of (the bylaw’s importance),” said Rob Bremner, chief administrative officer at Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality.

However, the prohibitions can become problematic, for example, for rental properties without enough parking spaces for tenants or where private social events are held in parking restricted areas that are a long distance from public parking, such as Burfield Drive or Fairways Drive.

Complying with the bylaw may result in having to find another way to arrive (despite limited public transport options), parking elsewhere, or choosing to park on the streets in spite of the bylaw.
Burfield Drive resident Sue Elder believes that enforcing bylaws is a good thing.

“I think we need to keep people from parking on Burfield Drive, because there are times (such as New Year’s Eve) when there was no way a fire truck or ambulance could get through,” explains Elder, who’s owned property on Burfield Drive since 1990.

“We need a few more signs so that people can’t say, ‘Well, I didn’t know’ (that they couldn’t park on streets).”

Elder added that alternative parking should be clearer when activity at the resort peaks, such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Presidents’ Week.

“I don’t think we need more public parking, I think we need to identify the public parking (where people can park after hours). We need a little more information . . . more awareness about where can we park if we can’t park on Burfield (or the streets),” explains Elder.

Elder also states that the municipality’s in a difficult position. “They’re also trying to walk a fine line because they want people to come to Sun Peaks, have a great time and go away with a good feeling.” That good feeling could easily be soured, she says, if the guests leave the resort with parking tickets in hand.

The municipality has acknowledged that there are issues left to address.

“We certainly understand there are issues out there,’ says Bremner, adding, “It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure there’s parking for the amount of people they’re going to have.”

Sun Peaks mayor Al Raine echoed Bremner’s sentiments and said that the key purpose of the bylaw is to ensure safety.

“The . . . priority has to be keeping the roads open so that anybody with reasonably equipped snow tires can get in and out and more importantly if we had an (emergency),” says Raine. “On evenings (residents) want to park on the road, we (would have to) cancel snow removal down those roads . . . not everyone’s going to be happy on that road.”

In accordance with Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw No 0011, 2010 an individual may be fined from $65 to $100, depending on which bylaw they’re in breach of. The fine can be appealed or reduced if paid early.