EDITORIAL: Parking issue in the wrong zone

A new lot, a trail and a no parking zone should of solved the parking problem at the Prestige hotel. Did it though?

Back in July, the District of Sooke announced it will be taking serious measures with the growing parking problem near the Prestige hotel: A bylaw, along with a no parking zone, an outflow parking lot at the bottom of Maple Avenue and a trail that runs from the lot to where the sidewalk near the Prestige hotel begins.

We thought, a-ha, we’re making progress at last.

Only, we haven’t.

Since July, no parking tickets have been issued, and neither the extra parking lot or trail have seen much use, either.

So what happened? Why are trucks and boat trailers still being parked on the side of West Coast Road, residents having their driveways and visibility blocked, pedestrians nearly getting struck by incoming traffic, and so on.

Several flaws in the district’s plan unravels everything.

For one, the trail, along with the parking lot, are unlit, making any kind of pedestrian travel at night impossible and potentially dangerous.

Second, the no parking zone runs only from the trailhead to the Prestige hotel/boat launch entrance. That’s it. This makes the no parking zone irrelevant, because rarely will anyone park their truck-trailer on the road in a curb; they’ll park just ahead of the trailhead, on the long stretch of West Coast Road.

And third, zero enforcement. Complaints were filed, near-misses reported, and poorly-parked vehicles noted to the Sooke RCMP, yet nothing has changed. In one instance, the district’s chief administrative officer said it didn’t issue parking tickets to illegally-parked vehicles during the summer because it didn’t want to leave all the tourists and visitors in town with “a bad taste in their mouth.”

Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. If you create a law, you must stand by it.

Victoria will ticket the living lights out of clueless tourists haphazardly parking their vehicles in places they shouldn’t, and this is a city whose central driver is tourism.

So really, this isn’t about hurt feelings. If the District of Sooke wants to be taken seriously, then it must enforce the very laws it bestows upon its citizens.

Don’t get us wrong, the no parking zone, outflow parking lot and connector trail, it’s all a solid start. But they all need a second look to work together effectively and safely.

Let’s not wait for someone to be hit and killed by a passing vehicle, or some other calamity from the latter to do something about it.