Calgary Folk Fest patrons feel unfairly targeted by Impark

Some Calgarians who went to the Folk Festival over the weekend say they were unfairly targeted by Impark.

Tickets issued at Impark parking lots near Prince's Island Park anger volunteer, attendee

Pat Ruby holds up the $95 ticket she received last Saturday at an Impark parking lot located on Second Avenue southwest in Calgary. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

Some people who went to the Calgary Folk Music Festival over the weekend say they were unfairly targeted by Impark.

Pat Ruby, a volunteer at the annual event, arrived early on Saturday and paid a special festival rate of $10 to park in a lot near Prince's Island Park.

Impark says signs posted in the area clearly said the festival rate was only good for 12 hours. (Rachel Maclean/CBC)

But when she arrived back at her car after the festival ended later that night, she had a $95 parking ticket. 

"I think it's very poor business practice — whether it's legally right or not," said Ruby. 

"To say it's a special rate for the festival — which is higher than normal anyway ​— and then not make it last until the end of the festival. In my case, 14 minutes after they determined my parking expired."

She says the cost of parking is the private company's right but says it was misleading.

"I think that's pretty cynical if it was intentional, if it wasn't then they should probably be waiving those tickets," said Ruby. 

Multiple complaints

The ticket is only $65 if paid within seven days, but Ruby wants to see her ticket thrown out. She called Impark to leave a message about her concerns Monday morning, and wasn't the only one.

While it has nothing to do with the Impark lot, the Calgary Folk Festival says it also received many complaints. Festival staff say they have called Impark to share those concerns.

Impark says signs posted in the area clearly said the festival rate was only good for 12 hours.

"If anyone would have phoned into our call centre and disputed a violation notice that had been received under those circumstances they would — generally speaking — receive a significant amount of leniency on that if it was their first time and they didn't understand the system," said Julian Jones, a spokesperson for the Vancouver-based company.

But Anne Ndegwa did phone Impark. She says she was told there wasn't much the company could do, as the lot owners set the rate, but she would only have to pay $60 for the ticket if she did so within seven days.

"I'm not happy with that either," she said. "I won't pay it. It don't think it's fair."

Ndegwa said she parked in the lot because someone in her party had mobility issues, which is something that Ruby also deals with. The lot is located at 660 Second Ave. S.W., and is very close to the access points into the festival.

Ndegwa said she also paid for parking at the lot on Friday when it was $45, and does not want to spend $120 on parking for two days at the festival.


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