Halifax peninsula councillors were seething yesterday after the municipality issued $10,000 worth of tickets during in the first night of the overnight winter parking ban.
Without a single snowflake on the ground, police delivered around 200 tickets to motorists who parked on city streets between 1 and 7 a.m. Monday. The fine is $50, but increases to $82.96 if not paid within 60 days.
“Peninsula councillors were told there would be some common sense with this ban,” said Coun. Sue Uteck of South End-Northwest Arm. “I’m not seeing that.”
Uteck has long been opposed to the current policy of instituting the overnight parking ban on an arbitrary date rather than simply waiting for the first major snowfall of the season. She called Monday night’s ticket-blitz “a tax grab,” and said the current rules do nothing to deter street parking during actual storms.
“I have absolutely no sympathy for anyone who gets a ticket during a snowstorm, but we give out these $50 tickets, and don’t tow the cars, so the street doesn’t even get cleared,” Uteck explained.
Halifax Downtown Coun. Dawn Sloane agreed with Uteck’s stance, saying she receives dozens of complaints every winter from distraught motorists living downtown.
“I have people moving out of the district right now because there is no parking, and they’re frustrated and they can’t pay $50 every time they get a ticket,” she said.
But Deputy Mayor Brad Johns of Middle and Upper Sackville-Lucasville defended the current policy, saying people were informed well in advance the ban was coming into effect.
“The date is out there and people know what the date is, so fair’s fair,” he said. “But I think there’s some merit to looking at postponing it to the first snow.”