By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos is considering changes to its traffic and off-street parking bylaws as it deals with the eternal question of balance between the comfort of residents and the convenience for tourists and other visitors.
At issue is where it is OK to park motorhomes and other recreational vehicles for 24 hours or more.
Under current bylaws, parking of an RV for more than two hours on a town street is prohibited without a special permit from the town.
As well, according to a report to council this morning from corporate services director Janette Van Vienen, the design of the town parking lot on 74th Street is impractical for motorhomes and travel trailers.
The two proposals presented to council in the report would see:
- Changes to the Traffic Control bylaw to allow RV parking on residential streets for 24 hours without a permit and for longer periods under a permit for space in front of a residence; and
- Changes to the Off-Street Parking bylaw to designate a small portion of the Boat Trailer Parking Lot for parking of visitor RV parking for less than one week with a permit from the town.
Several members of council expressed concern about the impact on residents, including Mayor Sue McKortoff who worried about possible traffic snarls in tight cul-de-sacs clogged with RVs.
Councillor CJ Rhodes, the only current member who was also on council in 2009 and 2010 when the current bylaws were passed, delivered a strong defence, saying, “There was good purpose to developing those bylaws back in 2009.”
Rhodes shared his concern about the impact of allowing 24-hour, unpermitted parking in areas that include a large number of strata-title residences.
Councillor Brian Harvey urged consideration for retaining the 24-hour permits, pointing out that even under current conditions, RVs are often parked in front of residences for extended periods.
He also suggested that the new bylaw ensures that town residents don’t end up getting permits for longer-term parking in front of their homes and then rent the space out to travellers.
Chief administrative officer Barry Romanko pointed out that whatever system is in place, it is “complaint driven.” He said that if someone were living in a RV on the street, there would be complaints.
He said that when staff drafts amendments to the bylaws, they will bear in mind the concerns raised at today’s committee of the whole meeting.