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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Ticketed Glendale resident angry aboutparking enforcement

Glendale resident Daniel St-Jean and his wife Laurel aren't happy they have received two tickets for parking their vehicle on the street outside their home for more than 12 hours.

St-Jean said he thinks the bylaw that allows cars to be ticketed for parking on the road unjustly affects some residents of Niagara on the Green, where he lives on Keith Crescent.

“It's not really a matter of whether I should have gotten a ticket or not. The bylaws are there. The problem is that they are idiotic, stupid bylaws,” he said in an interview at his home.

The parking bylaw is not always enforced and he said even a bylaw officer told him, “Yeah, the bylaws are there but we're not really enforcing them.”

“Well, I've been living here for seven years and they never enforced the no overnight parking, but this week they did. So why all of a sudden?”

Benjamin Hopkins, NOTL's supervisor of enforcement services, said the intent of the 12-hour parking restriction is to “keep streets clear for regular maintenance, winter snow control and discourage long-term parking.”

St-Jean emailed councillors last week to let them know of his concerns. He also takes issue with a newly established $26 fee for challenging parking tickets.

“First, you take advantage of the fact that because of COVID and the numerous lockdowns, people are home way more than before March 2020. And how do you take advantage of that situation? By having your officers issue tons of tickets for 'illegal' parking. Thank you NOTL,” he wrote.

“And then, because the courts are not hearing cases of people appealing your idiotic tickets, you give them a chance to appeal by phone screening. And I'm guessing you are getting a ton of these … so to discourage people from doing that and just pay their fine and keep their mouth shut, you've now added a charge of $26 for applying for a screening.”

While St-Jean's tickets were for parking more than 12 hours (not overnight parking), he said the parking bylaw unfairly discriminates against people on his side of the road, where a sidewalk prevents his home from having two parking spaces.

On the other side of the street, houses can easily fit two cars. His driveway only fits just one.

He suggested the town should have demanded the developer create equal parking for both sides of the street.

In January he took a drive around all of Niagara on the Green and counted 211 cars parked on the street, he said.

As well, his neighbourhood is close to Niagara College, making it a popular area for student rentals.

“Students, not all of them have vehicles, but a lot of them will. So by the nature of things there will be more vehicles in this area than in some other areas because of the college,” he said.

Because of Niagara on the Green's location (near the outlet mall), many people rely on cars as there are no amenities or shops nearby geared to the community, he added.

“Where do you think I have to go for a quart of milk?” he said, noting the nearest location is the Husky gas station and the next closest is over the canal in St. Catharines.

“You can't just walk somewhere here. In winter you can't bike somewhere, so people need vehicles,” he said.

Normally he is on the road for business about 10 or 12 days of the month, so it's not practical to just have one vehicle either.

“If I go away with the vehicle for 12 days, and there's nothing around, either my wife has to call a taxi, or we get a second vehicle,” he said.

He noted the bus service is also “a joke.”

“No convenience, student rental, and no adequate bus service — so all of that means people have more vehicles probably per household than you would see somewhere else.”

He said there's also a form of “discrimination” he's having a lawyer look into.

“Am I paying the same tax as those people across the street? Presumably. Now if I pay the same tax, am I supposed to get the same service? I would assume so. I have access to the library, the arena, everything else, so do they. Garbage collection? Exactly the same,” he said.

“Except parking — all the people on that side of the street have two parking spots. On this side I have one. Why? Because the city put a sidewalk here, taking my other parking spot.”

He said while he understands the need for a sidewalk, there are “many municipalities” that won't approve a sidewalk on one side unless the developer leaves room for equal driveway space on both sides of the street.

He said he understands why the bylaw might be necessary on some busier streets, but doesn't see the need in Niagara on the Green.

The reason both cars were on the street when he was ticketed, during the day, is he had a contractor working on his home, St-Jean said.

He said he would like to see the parking bylaw changed to reflect different neighbourhoods, or only be enforced in places where it may be necessary, like Queen Street.

“Just because it's a bylaw does not mean you have to enforce it. I've been here seven years, they just started to do that,” he said.

While some people might say if you're unhappy, just move, that wouldn't solve the underlying problem, he said.

“Who's gonna come here? A guy with two cars, who's gonna get one of these and is gonna call the city and be pissed off. The problem is not with me living here, or the 211 other people with their car in the street. If we all move tomorrow and leave the community half empty, how's that going to solve the problem? Because as soon as somebody else moves in with two cars, it's the same problem,” he said.

He encourages anybody in Niagara on the Green who has received a ticket to call councillors and voice their concerns.

“If they get 200, 300, 500 calls in a week or two weeks of people protesting these idiotic bylaws, they'll be thinking about doing something because those are taxpayers.”