More than $1 million owed to city for parking fines
The City of Nelson is owed $1,045,000 in unpaid parking tickets and penalties going back to 2005 ($130,000 per year on average), and nothing is being done to collect it. The city does not enforce payment of parking tickets.
Since 2005, bylaw officers have issued 121,000 tickets for parking violations, according to chief financial officer Colin McClure.
About 95,000 of those, or about 78%, have been paid. From those the city has collected $1,337,000.
Some of these numbers came up at the July 22 meeting of City Council and Councillor Deb Kozak expressed some surprise. She said she thought the adjudication process brought in as part of the city’s 2011 Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw was supposed to take care of this enforcement backlog.
But that adjudication bylaw only applies to people who dispute their parking tickets. Since 2011 when it was passed only about six people have disputed their tickets and taken them to arbitration.
McClure says the only way currently for the city to enforce parking fines would be to take the violators to court, which is too expensive, or hand their files over to a collection agency and have it go on their credit record, but that is also too expensive to be worthwhile.
Towing of vehicles is not an effective option because that can only be done if the car of a known repeat offender is found parked at an expired meter—a relatively unlikely scenario.
McClure said the city is exploring ways to enforce payment.