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New parking enforcement officer part of pilot project

City's chief building official predicts pilot parking enforcement project will generate revenue to pay for part-time officer
Downtown and other problem parking areas need to be addressed by dedicated enforcement. Bob Liddycoat / Thorold News

Jason Simpson, the city’s chief building official, asked council to support a pilot parking enforcement program Tuesday night.

A budget overrun of $6,000 would be required to purchase uniforms, a computer and software for a new parking enforcement officer, he said, who would be hired to work part-time—up to 21 hours a week—and an additional $9,800 would be needed to fund the project’s execution until May, 2020.

“The individual would be doing parking enforcement throughout the entire city,” he explained, “but downtown would definitely be a large part of it.”

Downtown business owners have complained about people leaving their cars for extended periods of time, preventing other shoppers from finding places to park.

Asked by Coun. Victoria Wilson about logistics, “We currently have a number of employees who use their vehicles for work,” he replied. “Being a temporary position, we don’t have intentions of purchasing a vehicle,” said Simpson. “Should the position become full-time, maybe then.”

Coun. Anthony Longo asked that Simpson provide a report in the near future, “showing expenses versus revenue of this individual,” who would be expected to generate revenue through issuing parking tickets.

“We currently have four bylaw officers on staff,” stated Simpson; “up to three at a time,” due to different shifts. “We try to dedicate one person to parking every day, but it’s fallen to the wayside a little bit, due to other demands.”

In most municipalities, “the parking people don’t do regular bylaw” enforcement, said Mayor Terry Ugulini. “We’re one of the few who do both.”

“Could one of the current employees do the pilot project to see if it’s effective?” asked Wilson.

“They’re scheduled to do parking five days a week,” replied Simpson, “but because of the huge backlog we have in complaint files, those have to take priority. We only have a certain amount of time to respond to those. We’re finding it difficult to keep up. There have been a large number of residential licences that have been coming in, which take up a lot of time as well.”

City CAO Manoj Dilwaria explained, “The pilot project is going to help our existing bylaw officers,” who are currently handling complaints in the downtown core and other areas “on the weekend, as well.”

He added that the “21 hours could include weekend work. Because it’s a pilot project, we know we can bring in quite a bit of revenue. This is a most cost-effective way. Depending on the success, we may come back to see if it’s a permanent position.”

“I’ve always said we need a commissioner to do parking,” said Coun. Jim Handley. “Every municipality has one because they pay for themselves.”