Residents reminded to get cars off the street
Okotoks: Vehicles parked 72 hours considered abandoned, subject to $233 fine
Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018 06:00 am
Cars parked on the street longer than the provincial three-day limit are posing a safety concern for snowplows in Okotoks and should be removes, say local bylaw officials.
“Under provincial legislation, vehicles cannot be left at a standstill on any road for longer than 72 hours without being moved,” said Okotoks municipal enforcement officer Sam Burnett.
Section 76.11.A of the Traffic Safety Act, states “any vehicle left on any highway for longer than 72 hours is considered abandoned.” The fine is $233. According to the act, any roadway is considered a highway.
Burnett said it’s become clear some vehicles haven’t been moved in weeks during snowplowing and snow removal in the past month.
It’s a safety issue, he said.
“Our snowplows aren’t able to properly clear the roads and our snow removal guys aren’t properly able to get rid of all the snow because of a bunch of abandoned vehicles left on the road,” he said.
Municipal enforcement usually doesn’t issue a fine unless there’s a previous history with a particular vehicle being left on the road, Burnett said.
Vehicles can towed immediately as well, but he said that only happens in Okotoks when deemed absolutely necessary.
“Our first attempt is to contact the owner and give them a timeframe in which to remove their vehicle,” said Burnett. “It depends on how long it appears their vehicle has been there.”
He said this can vary from officer to officer and based on snow removal activities. A vehicle owner is usually given a warning to remove a car from the road anywhere within 12 to 72 hours before further measures – like tickets and towing – are considered, he said.
When an owner can’t be contacted, a bright orange vehicle removal sticker is placed on the driver’s window, indicating the timeline to move the car. If municipal enforcement returns and finds no response, they will attempt to contact the owner again before towing, he said.
“Typically I find once people get those notices they move their vehicle off the street,” said Burnett.
There’s no excuse for vehicles being on the road for too long in Okotoks, he said. The Town’s land use bylaw requires every property in town has parking available – two available parking stalls for homes with rear detached garages and four for homes with attached garages and a driveway.
When people won’t be able to move their vehicles within 72 hours, such as when they are on vacation, they are expected to park on their private property, he said. It can be an issue with condominiums where residents have one parking spot and two cars, Burnett said. The vehicle used most often should be parked on the street, he said.
Burnett said the most concerning cases are when a vehicle is parked on the street without valid insurance or registration.
“A lot of them are not registered because they’re not in regular use, some of them we’ve found have not been insured so they’re a liability issue as well,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it comes up frequently, but often enough that it’s an issue.”