Kelowna is cracking down on drivers who get multiple parking tickets.
Starting in the fall, the city plans to tow vehicles belonging to drivers who amass more than four tickets in a calendar year, regardless of whether the previous tickets have been paid or not.
City property manger Ron Forbes, who presented the plan to council earlier this week, said when a vehicle gets a fifth ticket it will be towed and the owner will have to pay the fine to the city and the impound fee to the towing company to get the vehicle back.
He said drivers will be notified after a fourth ticket is issued that the next time they get a parking ticket, their vehicle will be towed.
“Contrary to what some people may think, this is not a cash grab (by the city),” said Forbes. “The intent is to adjust parking behaviour.”
He said the new plan will go into effect in the fall, once the city has worked with its software engineers to modify the existing autoview machines that bylaw officers use to record licence plate numbers and take pictures of car tires to show if a vehicle has moved since first being noted in a parking space.
He said while drivers who will be less than two hours at a marked, limited-time space, a meter or a pay-and-display space are encouraged to park on the street, drivers who plan to park for longer periods of time should find a space in a parking lot or in a parkade.
The city has a number of problem parkers who have multiple outstanding tickets but Forbes said the city’s adjudication process for dealing with disputed parking tickets has helped reduce the number. The adjudication system replaced fighting a parking ticket in court.
The tow-after-four plan is just the latest move by the city’s in its ongoing series of tweaks to its parking system.
In addition to the introduction of the pay-and-display system downtown, in 2010, city hall changed its long-standing practice of reducing the face value of a parking ticket to $5 if paid within 10 days.
Now, if the $30 ticket is paid within 14 days it is reduced to only $25 and if it remains unpaid for 28 days, the fine is increased to $35.
Forbes said the aim of the changes are to ensure a proper turnover of parking, especially downtown and to make sure there is adequate parking available for customers of local street-side businesses.