Monday, November 29, 2010

Why I am fighting this ticket.

 I am not an enemy of justice, but this ticket is an injustice, and in this case the law was unjustly applied. This bylaw is an injustice to every person forced to park on the street who needs to keep their vehicle running, so they can get to work and make ends meet, in our Saskatchewan winters! Also complaints should not warrant instant tickets, they should illicit discussion first for compliance if possible, before ticketing, but if the offence truly warrants an instant ticket, tickets should be given across the board to everyone in violation of the infraction.

This ticket is an example of how our bylaw systems can be easily abused. When bylaws are enforced only on when a complaint is received, it is easy for individuals to use them in their petty squabbles against their neighbours. I say this because the enforcement officer who came and unplugged and ticketed my car neglected to ticket anyone else in our neighbourhood for the same infraction, including the vehicle plugged in all day right next door to us who was plugged in as we were being ticketed (and potential 5 more as he left our street.) I guess this is why I find myself personally arguing with individuals parked in marked Handicap spaces who have no legal right to be there, instead of them getting ticketed, because they know they can get away with it as enforcement usually only comes when called, and that takes time.

I should also mention that I was unaware of this bylaw's existence, and although ignorance is not an excuse, neither should ticketing be a form of enlightenment, especially in a case where it was obvious where the person resides, as well as being highly likely they were home if their car was plugged in. There are obviously 14 others in small my neighbourhood that are ether unaware, or by necessity breaking this law because they have no other option, as we live in a climate that requires our vehicles to be plugged in during the winter months.

  • As for the “hazard” our cord presented;
  1. first off we contentiously, and diligently shovel our walk, and the city walk in front of our home (primarily to make it convenient for postmen, which one Canada post parcel delivery man profusely thanked me for when he brought a parcel to my door).
  2. Secondly we did not leave excess cordage on the walk, it is one thin cord flat on the sidewalk.
  3. Finally we never left the cord on the sidewalk when it was not in use.
All being said and done, I am looking for some sort of compromise on this bylaw, where to maintain the functionality to support your family, it is not necessary to break the law. There has to be a way for citizens without off street parking to maintain an operational vehicle in our Saskatchewan winters without being contrary to the law, otherwise it would be safe to say that thousands of the city's residents are right now, and every day, are contrary to the law just so they can get to work and feed their families. As well as keeping the public reasonably safe and not inconvenienced. I am look for suggestions for the court, and from the city, on how to best resolve this issue and maintain compliance with the law not only for me, but also for those unknown multitude of others that are forced to break this law every winter.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BEWARE! Winter parking on the street means no power for you!

Those of us forced to park on the street overnight in winter are going to need stout vehicles, because in Regina it's actually a ticket-able offense to run an extension cord across a sidewalk to plug your car into! What an absurd bylaw to have, let alone to enforce, in a Saskatchewan winter!

The explanation I received from the Bylaw division was that “it is a trip hazard, and the city would be liable for it” as well as "we only ticket complaints" which wqas to explain why my next door neighbor did not receive a ticket at the same time for the same infraction. Now I understand that the city wants to protect itself from liability, but with reasonable measures (such as a bright yellow extension cord, and a contentiously cleaned sidewalk), there should be no reason that even an infirm individual will not recognize and be able to avoid this sometimes very necessary and insignificant “hazard”.

That's not the worst of it unfortunately; my first issue is how the officer (Badge No: C504) decided that rather than come to the house and inform us we were in violation of a city ordinance, and give us the opportunity to comply, he UNPLUGGED the vehicle and THEN wrote the ticket! (Obviously we were home, and of course we would have complied to the law!) My next issue is that this Officer failed to give a ticket for the EXACT same infraction, to the house right next door to us (not to mention any number of other offences occurring on the street, at the very moment he was issuing my ticket!)

Now of course we all feel like a victim when we get a ticket we don't want (and in this case weren't even aware that it was an infraction), but it's even worse when you are singled out among many of the same infractions occurring in the exact same single block street. If the officer was there to strictly enforce the bylaw (rather than give the person a chance to comply with it), then why was I the only one ticketed for that on my block?

My question is simple; What do you do in winter in Regina to keep your car running, if you have to park on the street?

It's really hard to “heart” Regina with bylaws like this enforced without the application of common sense or common courtesy.