By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Motorists who disobey parking laws in the city should be ready to pay more.
At its latest meeting, city council approved a new tier-based penalty system for parking violations.
Back in April, council directed staff to analyze the city’s current penalty system.
This direction was due to an increasing number of parking complaints, and a consideration that current penalty amounts may not be enough to deter motorists from breaking the rules.
Approximately 65 parking infractions are regulated by the city – with previous penalties ranging from $15 to $300 depending on the severity of the violation.
Under the new system, the minimum penalty has been increased to $40.
Staff noted this was because nearly half of parking violations include on-street parking during winter months, parking on private property or parking, stopping or standing without a properly displayed permit.
“The penalty amounts for the above offences are set at the lower range of all fines at $30, $30, and $15 respectively suggesting that the present amounts for the associated penalties are not effectively deterring violators from contravening the city’s parking standards,” a staff report read.
Within the new tiered system, penalties will increase upon a second and third infraction. Staff originally recommended fines increase by $10, but council approved an amendment by Ward 2 city councillor Jane Hurst to change it to $20.
These tiered penalties don’t apply to infractions on regionally-controlled roads.
Council also approved a formal vehicle towing policy.
Under this policy, the city will tow a vehicle if it is considered abandoned, creates a hazard, blocks access to a private driveway, interferes with parade routes/road closures/fire routes, or blocks access for maintenance or emergency vehicles.
Historically, towing of vehicles in Oshawa has been rarely used. In 2018, there were only 17 vehicles towed by the city due to parking infractions.
Standard tow fees will be $135 for light-duty vehicles, $175 for medium duty and $250 for heavy duty. Impound fees will be $40 per day.
Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson was expressly supportive of the measures.
“I’m hoping this will send a message to those who think they can park wherever they want, if this doesn’t work, we don’t have any alternative other than to impound your vehicle,” he said.