In a relative change-of-pace, Tofinoâ€™s district office received rare kudos for its parking enforcement efforts.
Traditionally, whenever parking appears on Tofinoâ€™s council meeting agendas the conversation is about how thereâ€™s not enough of it, or how it needs to be managed differently, or how violations arenâ€™t being enforced effectively.
During May 12’s regular council meeting however, council reviewed a letter from Tofino Sea Kayakingâ€™s operations manager Liam McNeil who praised the districtâ€™s 2014 enforcement efforts.
â€œIt is with sincere gratitude that I write to thank the District of Tofino for the Parking Enforcement in the downtown core during the 2014 summer season,â€ McNeil wrote.
â€œThe parking enforcement during the 2014 summer season resulted in a noticeable and appreciated increase in parking availability and turnover in our area of town.â€
Tofino Sea Kayaking is located on Main Street, an area that McNeil suggested is prone to parking problems.
â€œFor many reasons, parking availability in the vicinity of our business can often become scarce,â€ he wrote.
â€œAlthough parking stalls surrounding our businesses are listed as 4 and 8 hour timed parking, it is not unusual for the spots to be occupied for extended periods of time, thereby restricting visitation to the many local businesses in our area.â€
He suggested the districtâ€™s efforts helped keep vehicle-turnover high last year and asked that these efforts continue this summer.
â€œWith the 2015 summer season fast upon us, we sincerely look forward to the District of Tofino again committing to the respectful parking enforcement which the town demonstrated last year,â€ he wrote.
After council reviewed McNeilâ€™s letter, Coun. Cathy Thicke said she was happy to see parking enforcement earning praise but suggested there is more work to be done, including issuing more actual fines for parking infractions instead of just warnings.
â€œWeâ€™ve had a lot of discussions about this in the last couple months and I do think that, when it comes to certain areas of town, we need to not just have the warnings,â€ she said.
She added council should have a larger conversation about parking with a focus on buses and RVâ€™s and said she had recently seen a â€œ72-passenger busâ€ parked at Tonquin Beach that took up about 10 parking spots.
â€œI would like to have a more thorough discussion about what we envision for the summer in terms of how hard weâ€™re going to be about ticketing and, also, just what we envision about buses in this town over the coming months,â€ she said.
Mayor Josie Osborne noted council is expecting a report from staff about parking and suggested parking would continue to be a regular feature of council conversations.