To Whom it Should be Concerned! Let's rescind the Winter Parking ban!
I think we are all well aware of the hardships imposed on HRM residents by the total winter parking ban that is now in effect. I know that you have not received many letters concerning this issue, but I would chalk that up to a general feeling by HRM residents that one cannot fight city hall. Fair enough.
I feel that the winter parking ban is completely unfair to our citizens. Many of us, especially those living on the peninsula rely on the city streets to park our vehicles. It is evident even to visitors by simply taking a look around town. So why is the winter parking ban unfair? It is simple. There are few public parking spaces for our residents in the city. Those that are available are quite expensive, and rare. Many residents are single mothers, cash strapped families, and young adults trying to keep their heads above financial waters. They simply cannot afford to pay for parking in HRM. Those that can find parking, find themselves walking sometimes kilometers to their cars - imagine doing that while transporting a couple of children and a stroller! Or perhaps a disabled elderly person.
The way the current winter parking ban is engineered, we are being punished by the city for simply trying to find a place for our cars. Imagine paying $20 a night to park your cars! You can bet that there will be pandemonium in the government services offices as drivers licenses are attempted to be renewed in the near future!
But it doesn't have to be. Why can't the city employ a fair winter parking system? Many cities allow alternating parking on both sides of the street in order to accomodate snow plows doing their work. As far as I know we are the ONLY CITY IN NORTH AMERICA to have a complete winter parking ban.
I have heard the argument from the Traffic Authority that a 'few bad apples' have ruined the situation for the rest of us. Sure there are always non compliant citizens, (that's why we have tow trucks) but I know for a fact that subcontracted plow drivers were ill prepared for the first winter storm. In short, the city dropped the ball by not ensuring their contractors would be prepared for winter's inevitable snowfalls, prompting calls to the traffic authority by angry residents - rightly so! So we the citizens must pay by coughing up hundreds or even thousands of dollars each via the HRM police department for winter parking on our streets. The Police department has the power of discretion in applying the winter ban rules, yet seems to be quite happy to hand out winter ban tickets on a continual basis. Even when there is no snow to plow and the temperatures are well above zero.
There have been instances when concientious drivers have opted out of driving their cars after having a few drinks, only to find that they have been ticketed and towed under this silly law. How does that encourage responsible and safe driving in our area? It is shameful in this citizen's opinion.
I respectfully ask that letters be written by Halifax City Council asking the traffic authority to rescind or amend the winter parking ban to more equitable terms, such as alternating sides of the street in storm conditions. I also ask that HRM and HRM police forgive ALL winter parking ban tickets to its citizens, retroactive to the original winter ban date in December 2008.
We all know that the city admitted the parking ban was unfair only a few years ago, and rightly had it rescinded. Let's make a positive step for our citizens today! Come up with a fair winter parking scenario for HRM!
Michael R MacDonaldProducer/Director: Road House Films Inc.Halifax, Nova Scotia
By Michael MacDonald