Fate of Leamington taxis in hands of committee
Taxi companies have yet to comply with bylaw that forces them to have parking spaces for every vehicle
All four Leamington taxi companies will find out in a few days, whether they still have licences after missing their deadline to show plans to show they are going to provide enough parking spaces for all their cabs.
Dozens of witnesses testified Monday during a hearing that will determine the fate of the companies. Sun Parlour Taxi, Leamington Yellow Taxi, Nader's Taxi and Leamington Taxi could all have their licences revoked, depending on the committee's decision.
Under a new town bylaw, introduced about a year ago, each company must have enough parking spots for all of its vehicles. The companies had six months to comply, but have not done so yet, according to the town's administration.
The loss of every taxi will have resounding affect on the town, say residents and business owners. Oscar Gutierrez, who owns Paradise Nightclub, relies heavily on cabs to get patrons to and from his bar.
"I'm going to lose a lot of clients and money," he said. "I'm pissed off because I'm not going to have taxis anymore."
The committee could revoke licences for all taxi drivers or they could extend the timeline for compliance, according to Ruth Orton, director of legal and legislative services.
"It's important that municipal by-laws be enforced, it's the council's directive," she added, but could not suggest any transportation alternatives for those who rely on the taxis to get around.
Now taxi company owners must wait for a letter from the four-person committee that will explain whether they've decided to revoke the permits or grant an extension which would give the taxi companies more time to comply.
Taxi company threatens to leave town
Mark Aloqaili, owner of Leamington Taxi, argues the bylaw would also require him to build parking lots for the personal vehicles of his employees, while most walk to work.
"I am asking the City to be fair with Leamington Taxi not to revoke their operating licence because my client completed the form requested by the municipality four months ago," said the company's lawyer, James Allen.
Aloqaili added that if he continues to feel his company is threatened he might just move elsewhere.
"If this town doesn't appreciate my service and I've got 20 employees gonna be out of business, I'll move to another town, which is appreciate the service after 12 years in the business."
with files from Colin Côté-Paulette