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Potential investor calls city parking bylaw ‘insanity’

March, 18, 2015
By James Jackson

Has the city’s overnight parking policy cost Waterloo a new business?

An email circulated to city councillors, staff and published by the Waterloo Chronicle last week suggests it may have. David Teertstra of Port Moody, B.C. called the overnight parking restriction “insanity” and that a “forest of no-parking signs” tells visitors to “go away.”

He said the $35 parking ticket he received from the city on a snowy night earlier this year might have cost the city business with his company in the medical scanners and robotics field.

The city’s parking bylaw currently prohibits on-street parking from 2:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. every day of the year, unless you receive an exemption.

Mayor Dave Jaworsky said the email was the first he or staff had heard about Teertstra potentially bringing a business to the city.

“I work on economic development opportunities on a daily basis and this is not something I have been aware we’re working on,” said Jaworsky. He said he’s received no other complaints about the city’s overnight parking bylaw since he became mayor a little more than 100 days ago.

Jim Barry, the city’s director of bylaw enforcement, said the intent of the bylaw is to balance the need for off-street parking with the city and region’s need for road access and to ensure the streets aren’t used for ongoing, permanent parking.

“It’s for snow clearing in the winter, maintenance throughout the year, (and) emergency vehicle access,” Barry said. “To varying degrees, every municipality has restrictions.”

In Kitchener, vehicles are not permitted to park on city streets from 2:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. from Dec. 1 to March 31 and no vehicle is permitted to park for more than three consecutive hours on any city street unless signs are posted to indicate otherwise.

Cambridge’s parking ban is similar to Waterloo’s, restricting parking on streets from 2:30 a.m. and 6:00 a.m and exemptions are also available.

Barry said Waterloo most recently revised its parking bylaw last year when it increased the number of exemptions per licence plate per year from 10 to 15.

Justin McFadden, the city’s executive director of economic development, said he’s emailed Teertstra several times to discuss his concerns with the bylaw and thanked him for his feedback, noting better communication between the city and those parking in the city may be necessary.

“I thanked him for letting us know about his issue and what it did highlight is somebody who’s coming in from out of town in a snow storm may not be aware,” he said.

“That was highlighted as a communication gap for us on the overnight parking policy and we’re having discussions internally about how to better communicate to folks.”