A new bylaw will allow the District of Sicamous to remove vessels that are illegally moored at public wharfs.                                File photo

A new bylaw will allow the District of Sicamous to remove vessels that are illegally moored at public wharfs. File photo

Hard line considered on parking

Bylaw allows for removal of boats moored overnight

Sicamous may not be as lax this summer when it comes to public moorage or parking.

The District of Sicamous is establishing a wharf regulation bylaw that will apply to public wharves on Main and Finlayson streets and Mara Lake Lane.

A staff report to council explains the district’s bylaw department has received multiple complaints regarding overnight moorage and fuelling of vessels on wharves under district licence.

Operations manager Joe McCulloch elaborated to council, explaining the district currently has no jurisdiction to remove vessels moored at public wharves.

“We want to have a bylaw so we can actually remove those vehicles and take them away… same as we do with vehicles,” said McCulloch.

The proposed regulation would prohibit moorage of vessels at public wharves between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., and the refuelling or maintenance of motorized equipment using paints, solvents or other materials toxic to fish or humans. The bylaw also prohibits: any loud or objectionable noises on or at the wharf that might disturb the “quiet, peace, rest and enjoyment of the general public;” diving or jumping from the wharves or swimming within 50 metres; littering, loitering and using the wharf for a commercial purpose; and securing vessels to the wharf with a lock or in a manner that prevents the vessel from being removed/relocated by bylaw enforcement or a district contractor.

Reclaiming impounded vessels would require proof of ownership, payment of all costs incurred by the district for the vessel’s removal and impoundment, and payment of a $100 fee plus $180 per day for storage.

While approving the appointment of returning seasonal bylaw officers Melvin Bowles and Robert Cline (Coun. Colleen Anderson opposed), council got into a discussion about the enforcement of the district’s parking bylaw, with Coun. Jeff Mallmes encouraging a harder approach than what was done last summer.

“I don’t think that a little note on the windshield from the mayor that says, ‘you’re parked here illegally, come over for a beer later,’ is a good ploy,” Mallmes commented. “Because everybody abuses that. They know nothing is going to come of it…

“We have a real issue in the summertime here, a serious issue, in front of Portside…, the whole of Riverside. They’re parked on the street where they shouldn’t be, they’re parked on the sidewalks. These people don’t care… And not only is it a serious parking problem, it becomes an emergency vehicle problem… I don’t think the little note from the mayor works. We should just hook them and take them, because you’re only going to do that to a few of them and the rest are going to get the story.”

Anderson agreed with Mallmes, stating nowhere else but in Sicamous can you park (illegally) on the road and be ignored. Anderson also noted there are people in town that make a living from the provision of parking/storage.

Coun. Malcolm Makayev had a different perspective, advocating a softer approach more reflective of Sicamous, a small, laid-back town and vacation destination.

“People come from big cities and work their butts off to take two weeks off, a week off, the last thing we want is their car towed,” said Makayev. “I think a little ticket from the mayor first is polite. I thought we had an agreement in council that we would enforce bylaws based on emergencies and safety. So if they’re blocking a hydrant, tow it. So long as it’s safety related or emergency related, we don’t need that. But if they’re having fun and have forgot where they were for a couple of hours – if you’re having fun…, we’re a resort town.”

McCulloch said there are issues around the tickets issued to Alberta residents not being paid because ICBC can’t trace them. He asked that staff be allowed to bring the matter back to council on May 24 for further discussion.