Parade to protest: Tow trucks sound their horns to protest a proposed new by-law in CBRM
SYDNEY, N.S. -- More than a dozen tow trucks from different companies paraded through the streets of Sydney, N.S. in protest and in unity Tuesday. They’re concerned about a purposed by-law they say would make them pay more to operate in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
“We feel it’s a tax grab, because we already pay these fees to the Nova Scotia Government,” says Stephen Jamael, the owner of Jamael’s Towing in Sydney.
The tow truck licensing bylaw was on the agenda to be discussed at council Tuesday night, but that has since changed.
Operators say the bylaw includes an annual fee, driver accreditation and a flat rate that could cost the consumer more.
“Doing quick math, if you have 10 tow trucks, the new cost per truck is the better part of a thousand dollars, so if you have 10 trucks that’s 10 thousand dollars before you even turn your wheel,” says Frank Campbell, a tow truck operator.
Christina Lamey is the communications officer for the municipality.
“There's some further regulation going to be coming from the province in regards to the traffic safety act, so that is going to impact towing fees, impound fees, and rules around seizure,” says Lamey.
The CBRM says removing the discussion off of council agenda Tuesday night will give them the opportunity to open further dialogue with people in the industry who have concerns.
“The by-law is to put more consistency into the cost of towing, seizure and impounding of vehicles, particularly after traffic accidents, which deals with the police service,” says Lamey.
Tow truck operators feel they should've been consulted about the changes, and say it's unfair to compare the CBRM to the way bigger cities operate and regulate towing companies.
“What is going to happen is all of the small tow companies, most of them are going to end up going bankrupt over this,” says Kim Withrow, a tow truck operator.
There is no clear date as to when the towing bylaw will be back before council.