It’s likely that more than 1,600 motorists dodged bylaw tickets in White Rock during the month-long civic strike earlier this year.
According to statistics received last week through a Freedom of Information request by Peace Arch News to the City of White Rock in June, 869 parking tickets were issued during the job action, which began May 1 and continued through June 2.
In the same period the year before, 2,552 tickets were issued.
The numbers refer to violations of both the city’s parking-meter bylaw and its street and traffic bylaw, which stipulate fines ranging from $50 to $500, depending on the offence.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin said last week after the results of the FOI were made available to PAN that he is not surprised by the drop in the volume of tickets issued, but rather that the number issued during the strike was as high as it was.
He has yet to learn the exact impact it will have on city revenues.
In a July 14 report, financial services director Sandra Kurylo told council those figures are “difficult to accurately estimate.”
“Due to the variability of revenue, particularly as it relates to parking, it would be difficult to attempt to determine what impact, if any, the strike played in the pattern of parking meter payment by visitors to White Rock,” she writes.
“Further, although the manager of parking issued tickets during the strike, clearly the city had limited resources available to issue parking tickets and generate the revenues attributable to the collection of those fines.”
Daily parking revenue during the strike varied throughout May, from a low of $2,700 to a high of $18,000, according to the report.
With any cost savings “there’s an off-setting loss of revenue,” Baldwin said.
Kurylo’s report was compiled in response to a motion by Coun. Grant Meyer, who asked that options for rebating taxpayers be explored in the event any savings are realized as a result of the job action.
Kurylo suggested adding $80,000 that would have been spent on providing solid-waste services to the city’s 2015 budget, to be used for a one-time expense. Council voted instead to immediately invest the money into parks maintenance.
Baldwin said Friday the city still hasn’t fully recovered from the impact of the strike, and efforts to catch up with work that didn’t get done continue.
“We’re getting there,” he said, noting the permits and licensing department was hardest hit.
A backlog “was there before the strike and it’s worse after,” he said.