I recently attended traffic court to dispute a parking ticket.
Also on the list were close to 30 other people waiting to be heard by the justice of the peace. However, all but four decided to pay the ticket rather than attend the hearing.
The remaining were there to be heard, despite the cost to fight probably exceeded the fine amount, with lost wages, travelling etc.
We were there on principle.
I believe the “net” is too large. Of course, we need laws to curtail chronic abusers. But when does the law become a tool or a disguise for an alternate form of taxation?
If you look at City of Surrey’s Bylaw 13007, you will find hundreds of other offences that can result in a fine. You may be surprised what offences you can be ticketed for.
The City of Surrey has a private contractor that enforces the bylaws. There is probably a strong profit motive to write as many tickets as they can during a day’s work.
At the very least, it is the city that is directing this aggressive approach to issuing parking tickets. There is big money involved. According to an article in Peace Arch News last year (Unpaid parking fines add up, May 20, 2015) the income from parking tickets is $1.6 million annually.
This is all about money.
In my particular case I was issued a parking ticket on the May 2014 long weekend holiday. Because of the circumstances, I immediately filed an appeal. The appeal was refused and I was told that unless I paid the fine I would be taken to court.
More than two years later, in July 2016, I received a summons in the mail. I was surprised, given the length of time that had gone by.
However, the day I went to court I found out the issuing officer had not worked for the contractor for quite some time, therefore, he could not attend the hearing and confirm details of an offence.
The ticket was dismissed.
Now, the city knew their case would be in jeopardy if the officer was no longer available. They knew this at the time of issuing the summons in July. Why in the world do you think they issued a summons knowing they were going to lose?
I suggest they were betting I would not attend, just like the 26 or so other people who paid in advance of their hearings.
Guy Shaddock, Surrey