Calgary

'Stick it to the man': City blinks first in parking ticket battle with Calgary man

In the roughly two decades he’s lived there, each year in the spring signs go up around the community stating street sweeping is about to begin and it’s time to move your cars. Not this year.

Sometimes the little guy can fight the system, stand up to the man, and win

A Parkdale resident fought his parking ticket issued during the spring street sweeping blitz and won. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Sometimes the little guy can fight the system, stand up to the man, and win.

That's how Roger Dunkley is feeling right now.

He lives in Parkdale, a northwest inner-city Calgary neighbourhood.

In the roughly two decades he's lived there, each year in the spring, signs go up around the community stating street sweeping is about to begin and it's time to move your cars.

This year? No signs.

Then a parking ticket shows up in the mail.

"I was pretty ticked off. I was steaming mad," Dunkley told CBC News.

"I wrote letters to the councillor. I thought it was a poor job of notification by the city."

I was pretty ticked off. I was steaming mad.- Parkdale resident Roger Dunkley

It turns out that while the city did put up signs, there were fewer and mostly at entry points into the community, not generously spread out like in years past, Dunkley said. And because he works from home, he didn't see those signs.

Out of principle, Dunkley decided to fight the ticket. It just didn't feel right to him.

There were a lot of Dunkleys in Calgary this spring, with about 36,000 tickets going out, at $80 a pop if they were paid on time — $120 if you waited too long.

An administrative review of the ticket didn't help. Then he got a letter in the mail in August with a court date. Then, more recently, another letter said the charges had been dropped. With no explanation.

Roger Dunkley received this letter stating the charges had been dropped. (Submitted by Roger Dunkley)

Shane Keating, councillor for Ward 12 in the city's southeast, says he's aware of the glitch and glad it's being resolved.

"A little miscommunication between the Calgary Parking Authority and the roads department and tickets went out on the wrong days and after they were done cleaning," Shane Keating said.

Calgary Parking Authority said about 2,500 tickets were rescinded. 

Keating says the cancelled tickets are reasonable.

"Absolutely. If we did something in error or there was confusion of communication, then obviously the tickets should be cancelled."

But what about the people who just paid those tickets?

"I'd imagine they are pretty ticked," Dunkley said.

Roger Dunkley has lived in Parkdale, a northwest inner-city Calgary neighbourhood, for about 20 years. (Submitted by Roger Dunkley)

"The city counts on you not wanting to go and fight the ticket. They make it as cumbersome and time consuming as possible so that you won't go, you will just pay the fine."

But he's glad he did push back.

"Sometimes it does pay to stand up for your rights and fight against the system. Once in a while the little guy wins. Power to the people, stick it to the man."

With files from Lucie Edwardson

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