Bylaw blitz: Petrolia starts proactive bylaw enforcement with parking problems

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Heather Wright/The Independent

Don’t be surprised if you get a parking ticket on your car over the next little while.

The Town of Petrolia has begun proactive bylaw enforcement and this month, they’ll be on the lookout for derelict cars or people parking in the wrong spot.

For years in Petrolia, bylaws were normally enforced when the town would receive a complaint. But during the 2024 budget talks, Councillor Bill Clark asked if they could put more cash into the budget to proactively enforce the town’s rules.

Clark says it was an issue people raised a lot when he was campaigning to join council in 2022. “Some felt that (bylaw enforcement) was non existent,” he says.

“People were parking wherever. People were not keeping up the properties…people were parking in the marked handicapped spots, people that were parking outside of the marked parking areas in the downtown. It was making it difficult for people to see getting around the corners or for people on the crosswalks to be seen by traffic.”

Council agreed and are now turning to the bylaw enforcement officers from the county to take to the streets. Laurissa Ellsworth, director of marketing, arts and communications, says for April, the focus will be on parking “that item being one that is a commonly received concern. Parking and derelict vehicles are both included.”

The bylaw enforcement officers may issue tickets, but they’ll also be educating the public according to Clark. “The whole premise of it isn’t to be a moneymaker; the premises is to educate people so that they stop doing it.”

Councillor Chad Hyatt agrees. “There’s bylaws for a reason. The health, wellness, vitality of the community – that’s what the bylaws are for. If we’re going to have bylaws, it’s important to enforce or at least educate people on what the bylaws are.”