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Quarry Lake fines clarified, new fine for sleeping overnight in vehicle

"We’re very education focused, especially in our parking program,”
A section known as the Panhandle near Elevation Place is part of the Town's Safe Park program. RMO FILE PHOTO

CANMORE – A loophole that could allow people to pay a cheaper rate at Quarry Lake instead of the paid parking amount was closed.

Now, there is only one parking fine rate at Quarry Lakes after Canmore council approved the change at its June 4 meeting. Under the previous fine, if a person paid a ticket within seven days, it was $45 but after seven days was $90.

But with Quarry Lake parking now costing $10 per hour with a minimum of two-hour increments, it meant a person could park for six hours or more and the ticket be would be cheaper than the paid rate.

“These are logical changes to be made to be consistent with our program and to make them easier to enforce, but also it enhances education around them because it gives greater certainty for those people considering their options,” said Mayor Sean Krausert.

A staff report outlined that the change helps ‘achieve greater compliance with the paid parking program at Quarry Lake and [gives] peace officers another enforcement tool to address illegal camping in vehicles.”

The report added the Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation, which is part owner of Quarry Lake, had asked for more enforcement for paid parking at the popular spot.

During the 2023 peak season, there were 496 tickets given at Quarry Lake due to people not paying and 38 tickets for those who stayed longer than they paid for.

The report noted the average peak season stay was 144 minutes, with paid parking in effect from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“The intent is to create a reasonable fine amount that encourages compliance and is a proportionate penalty when a violator is caught contravening a bylaw,” stated the report.

The new Grassi Lakes bus made reaching Quarry Lake possible by public transit when it launched in May. The service runs Fridays to Sundays and holiday Mondays.

According to the Town’s annual paid parking report, non-residents spent $246,870 in peak season and $31,490 in the off-peak period. Residents paid $20,510 in the peak season and $2,263 in off-peak times.

The annual report stated residents had $96,211 of free parking at the peak period and $47,996 in the off-peak time. The resident aspect of the paid parking program allows for locals who register to get three free hours of parking a day.

Half of the net revenue from Quarry Lake goes to the Rocky Mountain Heritage Foundation.

Greg Burt, the Town’s supervisor of municipal enforcement, said peace officers start at 6:30 a.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m. in June. The summer months have coverage between 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’re out there first thing in the morning. We’re out there at Quarry Lake. Obviously, we run into situations where people ask a question, ‘how much is a ticket?’ and some people weigh that as to whether they’re going to park there or not. … We’re very education-focused, especially in our parking program,” he said.


A person sleeping in their vehicle between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. could face a $100 fine.

Council authorized the new rate under the Town’s camping bylaw to deter people from camping along highways, parking lots, municipal parks and land for public utilities.

The addition of a fine could push people to use the Safe Park program, which was established to have specific areas where people could sleep in vehicles.

Coun. Wade Graham raised the issue of someone parking a camper van on a street and not getting a ticket, but then potentially facing one if they chose to sleep in it.

Town CAO Sally Caudill noted the municipality consistently receives complaints about people sleeping in vehicles before the Safe Park program was created.

“There are residents who don’t like people sleeping outside their homes,” she said. “We can all have different opinions on that, but it’s a significant area of complaint if we don’t manage it. That’s how the Safe Park program came to being.

“The Safe Park program is designed to specifically address all of our responsibilities around that, including areas for people to use the bathroom and overnight safety.”

In addition to Town peace officers patrolling spots, no camping signs are posted at all entrances into Canmore. The majority of parking lots also have signs outlining no overnight camping.

“Peace officers routinely attempt to contact individuals sleeping or camping in their vehicles to ascertain why they were camping and to provide details about the Town’s Safe Park program when appropriate,” stated the report. “However, there are times when peace officers have difficulty contacting the individuals sleeping in the vehicles.”

The Town’s Safe Park program is $300 for May 1 to Sept. 30 or $100 per month. It allows people to park overnight in the area of Elevation Place, also known as Vanmore.

A change in the bylaw allows peace officers to issue a ticket for the same amount as under the traffic and road use bylaw.

The report stated that 77 tickets and 51 warnings were given in 2023 under the camping bylaw.

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