A Winnipeg city councilor wants to make it easier to remove derelict and abandoned vehicles from streets and properties.
On Tuesday, the Assiniboia community committee approved two separate motions from Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West) asking for recommendations on ways to shorten the length of time vehicles can be left parked on a public street, as well as loosen the criteria for declaring vehicles on private properties.
Abandoned vehicles in particular have been an issue in her ward, Lukes said in an interview with CBC News.
“I don’t know what it is, but I have multiple, multiple calls about vehicles just being left on the streets. And the streets, it’s a public thoroughfare, it’s not a private parking lot,” she said.
The abandoned vehicles create hazards by obstructing traffic flow and interfering with snow removal, she said.
“In a city where we’re increasing density, where we’re encouraging smaller lots, where we’re encouraging more compact living environments, we need the streets to be open and moving, and not full of abandoned vehicles sitting there clogging up space .”
In a city where we’re increasing density, where we’re encouraging smaller lots, where we’re encouraging more compact living environments, we need the streets to be open and moving, and not full of abandoned vehicles sitting there clogging up space.– Coun. Janice Lukes (Waverley West)
Lukes provided CBC News with a photo she took of a car that had been left parked on Bridge Lake Drive for months. Snow had piled up around and on top of it, and people who called into complain about it said it had been sitting there for three months.
Under Winnipeg’s current parking bylaw, the city can’t tow a vehicle unless it hasn’t moved for at least 21 days, and an enforcement officer has left a notice requiring it to be moved within a period of no less than 72 hours.
Lukes’s motion says “it can take up to a month to remove an abandoned vehicle from the street,” and asks the civil service to make recommendations to shorten the length of time it takes before the city can declare a vehicle abandoned.
The other motion seeks to redefine what constitutes a derelict vehicle.
Currently, the Neighborhood Liveability bylaw sets out three criteria:
- The vehicle must be non-operational.
- It must be uninsured but registered and without a valid license plate attached.
- It has been left entirely or partially outside of a building for more than a month.
“The criteria is cumbersome and restrictive and, in my opinion and a lot of residents, favors the violator versus the residents who are living in the neighborhood,” Lukes said.
These vehicles are an eyesore that affect neighborhood liveability, becoming targets for crime and attracting rodents, and need to be removed in a timelier manner, she said.
Both of the other two councilors on the Assiniboia community committee, Scott Gillingham (St. James-Brooklands-Weston) and Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) supported the motions.
The problem of abandoned vehicles has become particularly apparent during this winter, with the amount of snow the city has received, Gillingham said during the meeting.
“If you’ve got vehicles that are frankly unnecessarily sitting there, it just adds to and compounds the problem of trying to clear snow, in addition to the eyesore that they can be,” he said.
The motions both ask the civil service to report back to the committee within 90 days.
Any changes to the bylaw would need to be approved by city council.