The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth is cracking down on those who commit the sin of illegal parking by hiring a company to enforce parking rules at two lots near Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica in downtown Halifax.
As of July 2, the lot adjacent to the church will become the designated parking lot for staff and parishioners. The lot behind the cathedral will become a paid parking lot for members of the public.
"We're making a change because we have parishioners who can't use the lot. We're full all the time from people who shouldn't be here," said Peter Browne, the financial administrator of the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth.
"We have our custodian whose time is being inefficiently used to try and keep people out who shouldn't be here to begin with."
In a notice placed on windshields, the church said it had hired Target Park to put a tire boot on any car that's parked in the lots without the proper authority or payment.
The boot will only be removed after $92.50 is paid to Target Park.
Temporary parking permits are available for visitors and volunteers and there will also be times — such as during mass and other liturgical celebrations — that the parking rules are not enforced.
"The church is seen as, 'We won't bother you because we're too nice.' I think that's what's led us to where we are today, is we've been too nice," said Browne.
"Regardless of what we've done — whether we've had our custodian ticket every day, whether we've towed people away — we're not getting the message across that this is a lot that we need to use for our purposes."
Genevieve Jones, who parked at the parking lot adjacent to the Saint Mary's Cathedral Basilica on Wednesday, said she knows she's not supposed to park at the lot but she needed an option to get to a dentist appointment a few blocks away.
"There's nowhere to park downtown so we parked here because it's, for the most part, free and I was only going to be about 15 minutes," she said.
"The reason that we parked here in the first place was because it is a church. We thought about it for a long time and wondered if we should park here but then we just assumed, 'What would Jesus do?'"
"Jesus wasn't a finance person," he said, laughing.