'We screwed up': Calgary Parking Authority to refund $150K in fees, fines after bylaw mix-up
Enforcement in new downtown 7 a.m. zones began before council approved changes
If you got a parking ticket in one of downtown Calgary's newly designated 7 a.m. enforcement areas, your luck just changed.
Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) announced Tuesday it will be refunding 808 tickets worth $50,000 and about $100,000 in parking fees collected in the three affected zones from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. since the beginning of August.
The authority decided to refund the money after officials realized they had jumped the gun and started enforcing the new rules before the necessary bylaw changes had been made.
"Late last week as part of a routine review of the bylaw we discovered that the policy and the bylaw weren't aligned," said CPA general manager Mike Derbyshire in a release.
"This means we've been charging for parking in those areas and enforcing without the proper authority to do so."
The parking authority approached the city's legal department as soon as it discovered the error and council passed the required bylaw changes on Monday, said Derbyshire while speaking to the media later in the day.
The once-again new parking rules won't come into effect until Jan. 2, something Derbyshire said was a goodwill gesture to Calgarians affected by the mistake.
"We apologize, we're very sorry. This is on us. We screwed up. I'm not happy about it," he said.
How to be reimbursed
Anyone who paid by credit card or cash at the pay machines or used the Virtual Pay Machine option between 7 a.m and 9 a.m. from Aug. 1 to Dec.16 should email their name, phone number and licence plate to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those with Park Plus accounts will have their account credited.
Any violation tickets currently in the court system will be withdrawn, applicable convictions will be quashed and fine amounts will be refunded back to the customer, CPA says.
Earlier this year, paid parking was extended to 7 a.m. from 9 a.m. in pricing areas 4a, 4c and 4d in the downtown core because occupancy levels were over the 80 per cent threshold identified in the city's Parking Policy Framework.
On Tuesday, council approved the necessary amendment to Calgary Traffic Bylaw 26M96 to allow the time change.
But the CPA says, as a goodwill gesture, it won't start enforcing the rules until Jan 2, 2017.
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