METRO VANCOUVER — The number of warnings and tickets for illegal use of water soared in many Metro Vancouver municipalities this year after drought led to tougher-than-usual watering restrictions, including a ban for most of the summer on lawn sprinkling.
Vancouver has issued nearly 6,000 warnings and handed out 415 tickets that carry a fine of $250. In comparison, last year there were 767 warnings and 43 tickets in Vancouver.
Richmond handed out more tickets than warnings during Stage 3 restrictions. In all, 407 people received a fine of $500.
West Vancouver, by contrast, issued no tickets but gave out 463 oral and written warnings so far this year.
Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore said Metro Vancouver will be reviewing what went right and wrong during the water restrictions this summer, and will look at how different municipalities enforced its bylaws when people watered their lawns when they were not allowed.
He said he believes the review will likely result in a recommendation that municipalities take a more unified approach to enforcement and be consistent in what fines are levied to offenders. But, Moore, added, Metro Vancouver can’t force municipalities to do that. Several municipalities had a sliding scale of fines depending on the level of watering restriction.
Richmond fined people $200 for violating Stage 2 restrictions and $500 for Stage 3 restrictions.
In Port Coquitlam, the seven people given tickets were repeat offenders: Two received a fine for $150 during Stage 2 and the other five were fined $300 during Stage 3.
•In Port Moody there were 24 warnings given during Stage 3, from July 20 to September 9, and 70 tickets each carrying a fine of $200.
•In Burnaby there were 1,250 warning letters sent out and 12 tickets issued so far in 2015. Fines in Burnaby are $150 for a Stage 1 water restriction infraction, $250 for Stage 2 and $350 for Stage 3.
•In Delta 146 tickets were issued so far in 2015. Tickets ranged from $150 for Stage 1, $250 for Stage 2 and $350 for Stage 3. The number of warnings was not tracked.
In Port Coquitlam, where Moore is the mayor, he said summer students were hired as water ambassadors to educate the public on how they could reduce their water consumption.
Recent rain has eased the pressure on Metro Vancouver’s reservoirs, allowing the regional district to ease watering restrictions to Stage 1.
Current water restrictions: Stage 1
|Residential lawn sprinkling|
|Non-Residential lawn sprinkling|
|New (unestablished) residential and commercial lawns, trees, shrubs, and flowers||Sprinkling outside restricted times allowed only at the discretion of each municipality and with special permits to be displayed on lawn.|
|Flowers and vegetable gardens, decorative planters, shrubs and trees||No restrictions|
|Commercial flowers and vegetable gardens||No restrictions|
|Private pools, spas, and garden ponds||No restrictions|
|Public water play parks, and pools||No restrictions|
|Public and commercial fountains and water features||No restrictions|
|Private and commercial outdoor impermeable surface washing (such as, driveways, sidewalks, and parkades)||No restrictions|
|Private and commercial pressure washing||No restrictions|
|Outdoor car washing and boat washing||Only with hose equipped with spring-loaded shut off.|
|Commercial car washes||No restrictions|
|Golf courses||Municipalities request golf course operators cut water use on fairways by as much as possible.|
|Commercial turf farms||No restrictions|
|Synthetic turf and outdoor tracks (such as, bicycle and motorcycle tracks, running tracks)||Hosing for health and safety only.|
|School yards, sports and sand-based playing fields||No restrictions|
|Municipal parks||No restrictions|
|Municipal ornamental lawns and grassed boulevards|
|Municipal hydrant flushing||Only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons. Routine flushing to be scheduled after restrictions are lifted.|