Beachgoers who got a ticket for parking along east Marine Drive Monday night may just have an easy go disputing the fine.
Several motorists were ticketed after someone tampered with a City of Surrey sign to give the impression pay parking ended at 1 p.m. In fact, it’s in effect until 11 p.m.
Alerted to the problem by Peace Arch News Tuesday afternoon, officials said those who received tickets that night can argue the fine.
“The people can certainly dispute the ticket and we would be willing to definitely have a look at that, because the sign has been altered,” said Rick Bamford, Surrey’s manager of operations for bylaws and licensing.
It’s unclear how many drivers were cited as a result of the prank, but a Langley woman who noticed the anomaly said she saw tickets on the windshields of at least 10 cars in the area, many there to watch the U.S. July 4 fireworks across the bay.
“I’m walking along the road and every single car has a yellow parking ticket,” said Erin Naidoo, who visited the beach with family.
Naidoo figured out the problem when she went to pay for her own parking time at a machine adjacent to the Semiahmoo Park bandshell. That’s when she noticed “some joker” had removed one of the ‘1’s on the sign. Knowing better, she plugged the machine.
She said she called officials in White Rock and Surrey to alert them to the tampering, in the hopes of saving those who were ticketed from having to pay the fine. After that effort reached dead ends, she contacted PAN for help getting the word out. An email to the City of Surrey received a quick response from Bamford.
Bamford alerted the city’s sign department right away and it will be fixed, he said, noting that until that’s done, parking officials monitoring the area “have been advised accordingly.”
As for ticket disputes, Bamford said there’s only so far the city can go, given that it’s not known when the sign was altered.
“If anybody got a ticket on that strip on the fourth, we’ll certainly have a look at those,” he said.
Naidoo said Wednesday she was pleased to hear the city planned to act. She acknowledged she had nothing to gain from her effort.
“I just don’t think it’s right that all these people had to pay,” she said. “I would hope someone would do that for me.”