Private parking lots issue City of Ottawa tickets

A new bylaw in place Feb. 1 allows private parking officers to hand out City of Ottawa parking tickets at private lots, which they believe will be more legitimate.

Private parking lots in Ottawa will now issue city parking tickets as part of a new bylaw.

Starting Feb. 1, all infractions at lots such as shopping malls, offices, condominiums and other private lots will receive city tickets from private parking officers. Bylaw officers will not issue the tickets.

Parking officers at Ottawa Parking Services, a private parking company, handed out 20,000 tickets in 2011. ((CBC))

The city and private parking companies will split the revenue from most of the parking tickets issued, bylaw officials say.

Private parking companies told CBC News the main reason behind the change is giving private parking tickets more legitimacy.

"To me, this is privatization at its best," said Denis Condie, who owns Ottawa Parking Services. "I do believe there were some bogus tickets written by some organizations, very unclear signage."

Condie added 32 officers would hand out city parking tickets at the company's 350 private lots. In 2011, the company handed out 20,000 parking tickets.

Condie and bylaw services are looking forward to a big financial gain for the city who will now share that revenue.

"They will have 32 new bylaw officers that cost the taxpayers nothing," said Christine Hartig, strategic support officer with City of Ottawa bylaw services.

"I think this is a win-win for council because, as we noted, the numbers were down in parking last year in revenues."

Resident complaints also contributed to new bylaw

Private parking officers will now have the ability to hand out City of Ottawa tickets, which will be a money-maker for both parties, they believe. ((Google Streetview))

The new bylaw also came about because many residents complained to their councillors about private tickets. Most of the issues surrounded an inability to reach private companies to plead their case.

"There would be a refusal to even consider cancelling it or even reducing it," said Hartig.

She added that, unlike private companies, the city can resolve parking tickets without going to court. That could save money and time in a backlogged system.

"[It is more of] a fair and just recourse system than what was in place with some of these private agencies. It's all about consumer protection," she said.