Complaints about illegal parking in Lund have led to another summer of locals taking the law into their own hands.
Police have received anonymous complaints from Lund area residents about drivers not following no-parking signs and from drivers who return to their cars after extended periods of time on Savary or Hernando islands only to find them vandalized, said Powell River RCMP constable Kerri Chard.
“Over the past few days we've had incidents of graffiti on the vehicles and also some notes left asking the driver if they saw the no-parking sign,” said Chard.
The officer investigating the graffiti incident learned that neither of Lund’s pay parking lots were full and could have accommodated cars parked on the road, said Chard.
Police have limited resources to monitor parking infractions in Lund and have relied on tow companies to take away cars violating the no-parking regulations, added Chard.
A policing plan to improve monitoring in the area is being worked on, but it has yet to be completed, she said.
No-parking signs are posted in areas where the shoulder is not wide enough to ensure that cars would be completely off the road. Chard said those signs have largely been ignored and that has led to increases in resident frustration.
Powell River resident Linzy Elliott works in Lund and said drivers who have had their cars towed might consider it a mixed blessing.
“It's probably a good thing they're getting towed because it might save them money in the long run,” said Elliott. “There is an issue with vandalism here if they make the locals angry.”
In a number of cases over the past five years, vehicles have had their windshield wipers ripped off, paint scratched, oil and fish guts smeared over vehicles, tired slashed and windows broken.
"Someone has taken it upon themselves to point out these vehicles in the no-parking areas and do some vandalism,” said Chard.
Association of Savary Island Committee president Bud Graham said paying for parking is a problem for some people on Savary.
“A lot of people use the parking lots, but I know a lot of people on Savary who just don't want to pay the cost associated with that,” said Graham.
Lund resident Erin Innes said few village residents benefit from the increased tourism traffic and the majority of them see only the negative effect of inflated prices that the visitors bring.
She said that even though Lund has other long-term parking options, the visitors are choosing to leave their vehicles in no-parking zones.
“They can’t afford to pay to park their BMW somewhere that's out of our way?” said Innes. “That's pretty disrespectful.”
In the most recent incident, vehicles had a no-parking sign tagged on the driver side of their cars. In some cases, air was let out of tires.
Chard said some vehicle owners, including a few from Alberta, had notes left on their cars instead of damage to done to them.