Sparwood Council stands firm with off street parking

Sparwood Council admits no better way to improve plowing than to enforce off street parking.

Over the course of several recent council meetings held in Sparwood, the discussion of the new off street parking bylaw was discussed, reviewed and finalized. The launch of the new bylaw began with many concerned residents of Sparwood attending Council meetings and expressing their concerns over snowplowing issues, with windrows at the top of the list.

After hearing the distress from residents, Council felt that they must put some necessary action into place. After thorough discussions with the District of Sparwood Public Works Department, it was resolved that vehicles parking on the street was one of the biggest problems facing snowplows and effective street by street snow clearing. To achieve efficiencies in snow removal and to reduce unequal windrow distribution while plowing, Council approved the adoption of Bylaw 1106 on October 15, 2012. Bylaw 1106 amends the “Sparwood Traffic, Parking and Highways Regulation Bylaw No. 472” to prohibit on-street parking from six o’clock am to four o’clock pm October 1 to March 31, inclusive. “People just need to be off the street  at all times during plowing,” says Mayor Lois Halko. “People can back in their driveway in the order they are leaving in the morning and  things like this can become a family habit and minimize hassle to people. I can foresee some challenges, but we really want to support Public Works. People should know, were are not out to punish residents, but even though our snow removal is excellent we have still had concerns from the public who want it better,” she says. Residents should note that parking on the street during snow plowing, snow removal, snow hauling, or sanding operations is prohibited. It is also an offence to push, place or throw or allow to be pushed, placed or thrown any snow or ice upon a highway or lane and that no advance warning is required under the bylaw and the Motor Vehicle Act and offending vehicles will be towed.

Residents of Sparwood have came forward expressing their concerns over the new bylaw, stating they have several vehicles and one parking space or unsure on how to ensure a vehicle is off the road with shift workers parking on the street and going to sleep. Council listened to their concerns and expressed that they understood and identified with residents in those types of situations, but stated  that they must stand firm to the bylaw for each and every resident. “We have the same situation where we have more vehicles than parking space,” says Councilor Joanne Wilton. “We park on the lawn during the winter. It gets the vehicle off the road and doesn’t hurt the lawn at all,” she says.

“Even if you hear the snowplow coming, and drive around the block until plowing is done,” says Councilor Ron Saad. “I have worked for this town for 35 years, and there is no better system for snow removal, the only better system is moving vehicles off the street.”