Steinbach city council approved a new traffic bylaw Tuesday, which will significantly increase fines in two areas, while including other minor changes.
Second and third reading was given the bylaw that was first proposed at a September Strategic Priorities meeting. This replaces a bylaw dating back to 1994, a parking meter bylaw dating back to 1993 and the Accessible Parking bylaw from 2017.
Fines for damaging, defacing, removing, obscuring or interfering with a traffic control device or parking meter were increased 900 percent, from $100 with a discounted fine of $50 when paid early to $1,000 or $500 when paid early.
The fine for failing to display a valid disability parking permit was also increased 150 percent, from $100 to $250. This fine does not come with a discount for prompt payment.
Mayor Earl Funk said the fines were simply too low for those kinds of offences. "It was so low it didn’t seem to deter anyone," he said. "Having these fines a little higher, I think we should get more compliance in those areas."
Contravention of heavy vehicle restrictions is the only other fine that carries a $1,000 penalty, while contravention of spring weight restrictions costs $25 for every 50 kg overweight and an additional $200 surcharge if paid later than 15 days after the ticket issue.
Failing to obtain a permit for an overweight vehicle and failing to comply with a request to stop or weigh a vehicle come with $500 fines.
Holding a unapproved parade will also hurt the pocket book with $200 fines for failing to obtain or follow a letter of authorization.
The majority of fines under the traffic bylaw are $40 with a $20 discounted fine.
Councillor Damian Penner told his colleagues he was happy to see smaller numbers, indicating it wasn’t just a revenue grab.
Mayor Earl Funk agreed, saying they understand people make mistakes and wanted the fines to serve as a reminder without causing hardship.