Contractor switch leads to one-month gap in dedicated parking enforcement in Halifax
Published Friday, October 14, 2016 7:34PM ADT
There may be fewer parking tickets handed out over the next month in the Halifax Regional Municipality, with a gap between one company's enforcement contract expiring and the new company taking over.
The current contract with the company that does the service expires Saturday and the new company doesn't take over until Nov. 15.
The municipality asked the current contractor, Independent Security Services, to continue for another month, but they declined. The general manager says the company has already found other jobs for its employees and isn't in a position to continue.
For one month only there will be no dedicated parking enforcement officers patrolling city streets. Parking tickets will be handed out by Bylaw officers and Animal Services officers.
“It's on a priority basis, so if there's a call that requires our attendance prior to the parking complaint, we will attend that,” says Halifax Regional Police Cst. Dianne Woodworth.
HRM Councillor Steve Adams says the one month gap was preventable and should never have happened.
“There’s two things wrong here,” says Adams. “If indeed bylaw enforcement officers and police officers can do this job, one has to ask, why are we contracting out parking services? The second thing is, for every time a police officer or bylaw officer is addressing a parking issue, that's taking away from the job they are supposed to be doing.”
Some motorists are celebrating this as ‘free parking for a month,’ but municipal officials are adamant it means no such thing.
“Certainly we will be enforcing those posted signage issues,” says HRM communications advisor Tiffany Chase. “We don't need to bring in additional staff in order to do this. However, for this one month period we will have additional duties for them.”
The new contractor, G4S, says it's trying its best to be ready ahead of the Nov. 15 start date, but that it can't make any guarantees.
G4S will provide parking enforcement for $11,000 less. Municipal officials say that wasn't the only factor, but some note the municipality could lose that money, and more, in lost revenue from the tickets that won't get written in the one month period.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.