Report looking at ‘substantial’ fine increase

Township council examining increasing amount violators would be fined for parking in handicapped spots

Heftier fines and better signage will form the key elements of a report into illegal parking in stalls designated for the handicapped.

Langley Township council supported Councillor Jordan Bateman’s motion asking staff for a report that will look at a “substantial” increase in the fine.

On July 25, Bateman suggested a fine of between $300 and $500. A penalty higher than the current $100 will serve as a better deterrent and give bylaw enforcement officers “a better tool and a bigger stick,” he said.

He suggested that handicapped stalls display signs showing the fine for illegal parking.

Councillor Bob Long disagreed. “I don’t think that raising the fine is going to make a difference,” he said.

The staff report will also examine the penalties which neighbouring municipalities charge.

Bateman’s motion was triggered by the experience of Joyce Olsen, a Township resident who, on the same day in June, was twice prevented from parking in a stall for the handicapped, once in Langley City and once in the Township.

On one of those occasions, an able-bodied woman called Olsen, who has multiple sclerosis, an offensive name.

When a similar incident occurred outside the Royal Bank in Murrayville, Olsen complained to Township Mayor Rick Green and bylaw enforcement staff.

Currently in the Township, motorists who do not have a handicapped sign in their vehicles and are found in the designated spots can be fined $100.

The law applies to designated parking stalls anywhere in the Township, said chief bylaw enforcement officer Bill Storie.

That includes shopping centres.

“The people at Willowbrook mall say it’s being abused all the time,” Green commented at the meeting as council approved the motion.

The penalty in Langley City is $50, reduced to $25 if the fine is paid within seven days.