Extra parking officers target Regina's downtown drivers
Early minimum payment on parking tickets now up from $10 to $20
The City of Regina now has more than double the parking officers it had last year, and has netted $760,000 in fines since January 1.
Last year there were seven enforcement officers ticketing people for different violations, which by this time of year had given $430,000 in fines.
This year that number has gone up to 16 enforcement officers, with 10 concentrating on the city's downtown area.
Regina driver Rebecca McLellan had an unwanted surprise waiting for her when she got back to her car last week: A $55 parking ticket ($20 if she pays it early).
"The penalty's a little strong for the piece, but it is what it is," said McLellan.
The city said it wants to keep traffic flowing in and out of downtown, and not have cars sitting parked all day.
"We were receiving a number of complaints and we're seeing complaints outside the regular hours we were working, so this allowed us to expand our shifts to include evenings and weekends and to ensure that we're really managing things particularly in the downtown," said Kelly Scherr, the director of construction and compliance for Regina.
The city said the reason it has raised its early payment on a parking ticket from $10 to $20 is to try to deter motorists from parking at two-hour meters all day.
"It was becoming that our streets were the long-term parking for a number of people working downtown so the turnover wasn't there for patrons of downtown businesses," said Scherr.
Scherr said she also hears complaints from downtown residents about motorists overstaying the two-hour limit in front of their homes, leading to parking enforcement also increasing outside the downtown core.
Brad Funston said he isn't very happy about this new parking policy.
"No, I can see where they're coming from, but if you're a minute, two minutes, three minutes...my wife was once...five minutes late and boom, she got a ticket. I wish they'd show a bit more grace on that," said Funston.
With files from Dean Gutheil