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Dec. 12, 2019 | Thursday
Local News
Nasty surprise: A $40 ticket for parking in front of own home
Carrie DeBon holds a parking ticket her daughter received for parking overnight in front of their house on Andres Street in Virgil. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

Receiving a ticket for parking on the street at night came as a shock to Carrie DeBon as she says she had no idea there was a bylaw prohibiting overnight parking in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Last week, DeBon’s daughter Samantha parked her car in front of their house on Andres Street in Virgil.

When Carrie was leaving for work the next morning, she noticed something on the windshield of the car and called her husband to check what it was. It was a parking ticket.

The $40 ticket was issued at 4:54 a.m.

What bothered DeBon most was that she didn’t know such a bylaw existed.

“I’ve never seen it posted anywhere … For most subdivision streets, I don’t see any signs posted,” she said, noting she was also surprised at how much the fine was.

Gary Dick, who lives on the corner of Mary Street and Gage Street, also received a $40 ticket, issued at 5:54 a.m. for parking in front of his house last Tuesday. He said he was “a little upset” as there is nothing he can do about it and he “got no recourse.”

“I know it’s a bylaw but they never told us it was going to happen and it seems like a money-grab to me,” he said in a phone interview. “They won’t tell you who (filed a complaint) so it’s kind of frustrating.”

In Niagara Falls, the minimum fine for violating the parking and traffic bylaw is $25 while in St. Catharines parking on regional roads between 2 and 6 a.m. can result in a $30 ticket.

The parking bylaw in NOTL prohibits parking between 2 and 6 a.m. within the municipality. Both bylaw officers and parking enforcement officers are authorized to issue parking tickets, said Victoria Steele, the town’s engagement co-ordinator.

“Tickets for parking overnight are issued when cars are interfering with snow clearing operations and throughout the year on a complaint basis,” said Steele in an email to The Lake Report.

DeBon said she doesn’t know if her neighbours complained to the town. If neighbours do have issues with people parking overnight, she said she hopes they would talk about it first, before complaining to the town.

She added the bylaw should also be enforced on a regular basis regardless of any complaints as it may cause problems between neighbours. 

“If you’re going to ticket, make it consistent and not just this random ticket blitz or whatever this is,” DeBon said. “You’ve got to make it known and be consistent with the rules.”

She questioned the purpose of the bylaw restricting parking between 2 and 6 a.m. as there is little traffic at that time.

The parking bylaw might also make more sense in the areas with heavier traffic and a higher number of tourists, she said, adding she understands the need for a no-parking bylaw in winter when roads need to be plowed.

“But on a quiet subdivision street like this, I don’t understand the purpose of it,” DeBon told The Lake Report. “It’s not heavy traffic so it’s not a huge risk to other people, to cyclists. I don’t see it, it’s just not a busy area.”

Making people aware of the bylaw prompted DeBon to write a post on Facebook last week which gained a lot of online traction, attracting up to 200 comments, many of them angry about the town’s random enforcement of the bylaw.

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