Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer City bylaw officer Marcel Bedard sits behind the wheel of his 2004 Chevy Cavalier on Friday, Nov. 24.

New wheels for bylaw officer

Salmon Arm’s 2018 budget particularly prudent on vehicle purchases

Being the guy who hands out parking tickets doesn’t add to a person’s popularity, but Marcel Bedard’s job is about to get a little easier.

According to plans in the city’s 2018 budget, Bedard, Salmon Arm’s bylaw enforcement officer, will be saying goodbye in the new year to his gold 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier and hello to a Jeep. A used one, mind you, but one with four-wheel drive and a little more clearance than his gold baby.

“Last summer I went up past the cemetery looking for some squatters and tore out the oil pan. I managed to get it turned around, rolled down the hill and got it towed.”

He adds, with a hint of a smile, “I have connections with the tow company.”

The online ‘Edmunds Expert Review’ has no kind words for the 2004 Cavalier.

“Despite the new look, there’s no hiding the fact that this car was engineered more than a decade ago, leaving it hopelessly outclassed by nearly every other car on the market.”

Ouch.

But Bedard is not about to criticize.

“It’s still a good car, but it’d be nice to have a four-wheel drive.”

Although most of his driving is in the city, he sometimes must head out to rural areas. For those trips, he borrows a pickup from public works.

Monitoring parking is just one of his jobs. He also handles noise and unsightly premises complaints. This particular day he is on his way to a complaint of a vehicle blocking someone else’s driveway.

Bedard has driven the Cavalier for only four years, unlike the 1993 white Tempo that he drove from 1997 to 2013.

“It was a good car,” he says simply. And no, he didn’t have a name for it.

Related link: Minimal increase in city budget

The city appears to be particularly prudent with tax dollars when it comes to vehicles. The city’s building inspectors don’t have prime cars either. They drive 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet Cobalts.

A city budget document states that “the vehicles are well past their scheduled replacement date and coupled with expired warranties and the associated cost of both annual maintenance and the likelihood of major repair, it is time to review options for replacement…

“All three vehicles do not perform well in the snow and can be a challenge to operate over the winter months. Many development sites are also not suited for the compact cars with their low clearance and wearing suspensions. City employees often resort to using their own vehicles during challenging road conditions or sites.”

Bedard’s Cavalier will be “disposed of” and replaced by “a repurposed public works Jeep.” It’s a 2007 Jeep Compass.

The two Cobalts will be retained for building, planning and engineering staff, and the city will buy two new hybrid SUVs.

One will be used by the building inspectors, while one will go to public works to replace the Jeep that Bedard will be getting.

Although happy with the plan, Bedard quips, with a smile: “Apparently I’m the clearing house for vehicles.”

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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