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‘Sabotage’: Burnaby driver’s engine ruined because neighbours don’t like him parking on street

Are paid permits the solution?
gas tank
People have been in a panic about gas.


Let me repeat this again: Sigh.

I’m sighing because people just won’t stop fighting about parking in Burnaby. One example is a theory that T.M. has about why his engine was ruined in 2020.

T.M. is a renter in Burnaby who has had to deal with tsk-tsking neighbours who don’t like him parking in front of their homes – under any circumstances.

“I moved in a few years ago and I got a lot of stern looks from some of the residents on the street,” T.M. said. “Some of the residents don’t care if people park in front of their house, but others are maniacal about the whole thing. I got notes on my windshield and some people yelling at me from their windows. I told them it’s a public street and I don’t have anywhere else to park. My landlord doesn’t have enough space on his property for me to park.”

But then one day his car wouldn’t start. The thing was just dead. He called BCAA and got a jump but nothing happened and the technician said it wasn’t the battery. So T.M. had his vehicle towed to a mechanic. After an inspection, T.M. was told that someone likely poured something into his gas tank, like a lot of water, and that the engine was ruined.

“It was sabotage,” he said. “And it wasn’t just random. Someone who didn’t like my parking habits decided to punish me. That’s when I decided to move. Now I rent in a building with underground parking, but it’s costing me a lot more.”

So, how do we get people to stop fighting about parking in our city?

One idea that several readers have put forward is for Burnaby to adopt the system that Vancouver uses - on a wider level - in which people can buy permits to park on the street in their neighbourhood. Annual permits start at around $45 and go up to $90 – unless you live in the West End, in which you can pay $400.

I’m sure homeowners already feel like they pay enough in taxes, but if a street is really struggling with parking issues, this could be a targeted solution. It’s not perfect, but according to the messages I’ve received, there are some really dirty parking wars going on and something needs to be done to people to stop fighting with each other.

Some support this idea for Burnaby.

“I agree that the City of Burnaby should implement the cash grab that is residential permit parking for locals that have parking issues,” wrote David Tieu, in response to a letter we ran. “I don't know that this will solve his problem entirely, but it would at least prevent folks that are using the streets as a park and ride for transit. So, take it up with the city.”

“Burnaby Hospital is an excellent example for permit parking to protect the residents right to park on their block,” wrote John Artuso. “This should also be extended to Pender and Albert streets as the residents along the Hastings corridor face the same issues with visitor parking.”

“No one wants to pay for parking,” wrote Tak, in response to a letter by Glen Power. “Thus people look for free parking (I do too). As Glen says, I agree with putting controls like ‘residents only’ in some neighbourhoods to curb non-resident parking by ‘park & ride’ people. This will help to some extent, but as multiple families live in single-detached homes, cars will have to spill over to street. ‘Resident only’ permits may just trigger another street parking shortage as this may prompt residents to get their second or third cars. With the pandemic, I think a lot of people got cars for work. My neighbourhood was easy to find street parking, but now all street parking is filled by early evening until next morning. Fighting for street parking is just another part of city living where houses don't come with enough parking spots.”

Having said all of this, I doubt Burnaby would do this on a wide scale. I think it’s too politically unpopular. It also punishes renters who often aren’t allowed to park in the basement suites they rent.

In the meantime, please don’t sabotage someone else’s vehicle.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.