The town’s proposed community standards bylaw saw some opposition from residents related to car idling and RV parking. File photo

Ponoka’s idling, RV parking provisions receive rebuke from public

New community standards bylaw slated to come back with more revisions

Some people were not goi

ng to simply sit idle during the final public consultation on Ponoka’s new community standards bylaw.

The bylaw includes new provisions and amalgamates pr

evious bylaws on noise, nuisances (aka unsightly premises) and a curfew, is designed to place regulations on a variety of issues. That includes the look of properties, dealing with nuisance behaviour including panhandling as well as vehicle idling, and the enforcement and penalties for such offences.

First reading of the bylaw was back in June 2017.

Key worries

With a number of revisions having been made, the public was provided another chance to speak at the town council meeting on March 12 and the focus was mainly on the limit that would be placed on the idling of vehicles.

CAO Albert Flootman noted the bylaw has also been reviewed by the town’s Police Advisory Committee.

There were a couple of sections added, including vehicle idling and a restriction on the parking of recreational vehicles., both in response to concerns having been expressed during the public consultations.

The idling section would limit a stationary vehicle parked in or within 150 metres of a residential development to running for 15 minutes, except emergency vehicles, while recreational vehicles would only be allowed to park on an approved hard surface pad on the side or rear of a property between April 1 and November 1.

These two sections prompted some opposition from the public during the hearing as well as from Coun. Teri Underhill.

Kyle Wood took issue with the 15 minute idling limit, noting most diesel vehicles take 30 minutes to hit operating temperature when temperatures dip below minus 25.

“The 15 minutes is nowhere near enough for a diesel to warm up,” he explained.

Wood believes if a diesel vehicle is made to run cold, the likelihood of breaking engine components or even a catastrophic failure is higher. When asked what a reasonable idling time would be, Wood said about 30 minutes if the vehicle was plugged in.

Underhill also weighed in on both subjects stating, “To expect our citizens to not run (their diesel vehicles) and potentially damage them I think is a bit extreme.”

On the RV parking restriction, Underhill feels the restriction may be reaching a bit far and that she will continue to fight against the provision.

“I’m sorry, but if I’ve paid to put pavement down to make room for my trailer, I should be able to park it on there throughout the year and not have to pay for storage,” she said.

“I pay taxes, I have a driveway purposely built big enough for my trailer. I don’t think this (revision) is fair to people who have the parking space.”

Other additional sections included — one pertaining to how water from eavestroughs and downspouts needs to be kept off adjacent properties plus one providing regulations on how building and fence maintenance needs to be kept.

Council held off on proceeding with second reading until administration returns with further recommendations. No timeline was available for when the bylaw will be back before council.

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