By J.W. Schnarr
For the Sunny South News
Coaldale town council is attempting to crack down on long-term parking of recreational vehicles in nuisance areas with amendments to their Traffic Control Bylaw.
During their regular meeting on July 11, council discussed the issue of unattached trailers parked in Coaldale in places other than directly in front or adjacent to the owner’s own property.
Coun. Sherrie Duda said she was opposed to the bylaw in its current form.
“I think changing it now is unfair to people who have trailers,” she said.
“It’s mid-season. It’s not giving them anywhere to park their trailer. If they don’t have anywhere to park right now, they are not going to find a place, while the current bylaw allows them to park on their street until Thanksgiving,” she said.
“I think the timing of this is very poor.”
She also said the bylaw was unnecessary to address violations in the Traffic Safety Act, including trailers being parked in cross walks or near stop signs.
“People are blocking where you can’t see corners or stop signs,” she said.
“If they were parked properly and following the laws, they wouldn’t be parked there. So our bylaw does not need to change that because it is a matter of enforcement.”
She said trailer hitches that stick out onto sidewalks were also a concern that needs to be addressed.
Coun. Jack Van Rijn said the area around Parkside was a particular problem for trailer parking, and that he agreed with much of what Duda said.
In the area of the street immediately adjoining the owner or operator’s place of residence — “We would still allow recreational vehicles to be parked in front of or beside your immediate house,” he said.
“But you can’t park them across the street. And you can’t park them on Parkside on the main road,” he added.
“To eliminate it completely in the mid-season, I think, is probably wrong.”
The bylaw recognizes “recreational vehicles” to include live-in recreation vehicle designed for travel and without limiting the generality of the foregoing including: travel trailers; truck campers; fifth-wheel trailers; motor homes and conversions; and fold-down camping trailers.
Coun. Jacen Abrey told council they are unable to enforce bylaws that contravene existing Acts, but enforcement to the letter of the TSA could be helpful for reducing the amount of trailers parked in nuisance areas.
Van Rijn expressed support for the intent of the amendment.
“I think this is an important bylaw to stop exactly what we see happening over by Parkside, where people are parking their trailers just because they don’t have a place at their home to park it.”
He also noted in some cases the trailers did not even belong to anyone living in Coaldale.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kalen Hastings confirmed some residents from other municipalities have been parking their trailers in Coaldale as free storage.
“I think we need something that has some teeth in it, that says unless you park your trailer in front of your own house, it has no other place to be parked in Coaldale.”
Following discussion, council passed first reading of the bylaw, with Coun. Duda voting against and Coun. Bill Martens absent.
There was also some discussion to hold an open house in the fall, so residents can hear more about both the Traffic Control Bylaw amendment and the proposed Community Standards Bylaw.
Communities In Bloom
Coaldale’s highway welcome is getting a major upgrade in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial next year.
Doreen Lloyd and Briane Simpson of Communities in Bloom (CIB) appeared before council during a regular council meeting on July 11 to give an update on recent CIB projects. In particular, the new sign project intended to welcome highway goers to the community.
The “Coaldale Welcomes You” sign would be replaced with a number of new features, including landscaping, new trees, and a large maple leaf.
In addition, CIB would add a business directory, as well as benches. A new, large maple leaf would feature an owl design as part of its welcome.
Council had previously agreed to provide $5,000 this year and $5,000 next year for a Canada 150 project. Lloyd asked council to consider providing that funding this year, and if they might consider adding an additional $5,000 for completion of the project. Additional funds could be gathered through fundraising efforts.
Simpson said the project is on a tight timeline.
“We’re hoping for fall, just because we can’t do this in winter,” she said.
“And so it is ready for Jan. 1, basically. And we don’t want to start this project and only complete it halfway.”
Coun. Bill Chapman said holding off to unveil the project until the actual Canada Day celebration in 2017 could be a substantial addition to the festivities at that time.
Simpson said there could eventually be an opportunity to expand into the downtown with a walkway or other features.
Following discussion, council passed a motion to provide $15,000 in funding to help CIB pay for the project, with the understanding the group could fundraise for any additional funds needed.