A handful of Winnipeggers are fuming after getting tickets for running extension cords across sidewalks to plug in their vehicles.
“I got a ticket on my truck,” said Paul Peters, who woke to find a ticket tacked to his car Tuesday morning. “Both of my neighbours got tickets as well.”
He received another ticket on Wednesday morning.
Peters said he has been plugging in his truck in that spot for 10 years without an issue, but now he’s facing a $100 fine for running the extension cord from his home, across the sidewalk, to the vehicle on the street.
“This is Winterpeg!" he said. “The ticket time was 33 minutes after midnight, and I’m going, ‘Who’s working for the city after midnight?’”
His neighbour, Heike Eidse, also received a ticket.
“I just didn’t know about it, so I was really upset,” she said.
Both Eidse and Peters say they have no choice but to park in the front and run a cord across because their back lanes have become impassable due to high, frozen windrows — piles of snow left behind by plows in back lanes.
Since December, the City of Winnipeg has handed out 155 tickets for running extension cords across sidewalks or streets. But in the entire 2012-2013 season, zero tickets for the bylaw were handed out.
The bylaw has been on the books since the 1970s, but recently, the Winnipeg Parking Authority took over enforcing it.
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie said the bylaw is there to keep people safe.
“People will trip on them,” Eadie, who is blind, said of the extension cords. “Frankly, I’ll say it — if I tripped on it, I’d yank it right out of their car because I’d be very upset.”
Regardless, Peters and Eidse plan to fight their tickets and ask the city for some kind of alternative so they can plug in their vehicles.
"It'd be nice to see … some sort of variances for specific areas like ourselves and our neighbourhood," said Peters. "Maybe, you know, what a good thing might be if the city put up outlets at the curbs. Why doesn't the city do that?"
According to Mayor Sam Katz, that’s not going to happen.
“You know what, everybody has suggestions,” said Katz.” I don't know how realistic that is. But you know, there might be some other creative solutions to that.”
But, Katz conceded people are having a tough time with the extremely cold winter and high backlane windrows.
“Some people will say this is necessity, otherwise I don’t get my kids to school, I don’t get to work, etcetera. So maybe we can find something that works,” he said. “This came as a surprise to me.”
For now, Peters said he still plans to plug in his truck the same way, even if it means getting another ticket.