Repeat as necessary by Robert Kernachan

Forget property crime, Ladysmith has a parking spot theft problem

Ah — Ladysmith, the town of seaside heritage, generous people, arts, culture, and parking spot thieves

Ah — Ladysmith, the town of seaside heritage, generous people, arts, culture, and parking spot thieves. That’s right. Ladysmith is home to some of the most nefarious parking thieves on Vancouver Island.

1st Ave is the prime stomping ground for parking spot thieves. At mid-day, vehicles drive up and down the avenue in search of an available parking spot, (despite ample free parking behind businesses). Finally, a commuter has found a spot. They’ve set their signal to indicate they’re going to park, but then the parking spot thief appears, and without so much as a glance at the other driver, they swoop in to the parking spot triumphantly on their way to get a cinnamon bun.

There is no lack of parking on 1st Ave, however there is a limited supply of what could be called ‘premium’ parking. Premium parking refers to spots that are directly in front of businesses. Those spots are the most ideal for shopping on 1st Ave, and are the easiest to park at from the avenue. More often than not, those spots are full between Buller and Roberts street.

High street is also afflicted by parking spot thieves. On the end of High street by the post office and CIBC all parking is 15 minutes only, this keeps the flow of traffic moving and prevents spots from getting filled up by 1st Ave shoppers. However, on the end of High street by Mr. Popper’s Sweet Shoppe, parking is far more competitive. There are limited spots, and high traffic going toward Beantime and Fox & Hound. It’s not unusual to see cars drive to the bottom of High street, then turn around using the motel’s parking lot. When there is a spot open, civility disappears — whoever gets the spot first gets the spot.

So, what can this lovely town do to combat parking spot thieves? A simple solution is that if you don’t want to get parking spots stolen, park in the back parking lot behind the Old Town Bakery. There are almost always free spots. Otherwise, parking further down 1st Ave by the Eagles Hall and Thrift Store area is usually open. Of course, commuting by bicycle completely eliminates the issue of finding parking, (but it does create an issue with hills). These options of course are not accessible to all people, particularly those with limited mobility.

The most impactful change on the state of parking spot thievery in Ladysmith must happen in the heart of the parking spot thieves themselves.

At the end of the day, we’re all sharing the same space, and that’s exactly what we should do, share.

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