Proposed Changes to Parking Fines

We are writing to update residents about proposed changes to the parking fines in HRM.

Most other Canadian cities have vibrant downtowns and main streets while also having higher parking fines. The reason HRM is considering increasing parking penalties is to make sure that the fine is high enough to encourage compliance, while in turn increasing parking spot turnover and providing all residents and visitors fair access to available parking.

What we have heard from businesses is that some people are parking too long, or all day, and that this low turnover makes it difficult for shoppers and people visiting professional services to efficiently navigate the commercial districts.  What we hear from residents is that areas near the base, the universities, and the hospitals often see parking all day in time-restricted parking areas.  One of the issues that is hurting parking turnover is that, in many cases, it is cheaper to pay the $20.00 fine (if paid within 7 days) than it is to find off-street parking.

We understand that residents were surprised when they heard that Regional Council is considering raising fines from $25 to $50; after all, the first we heard of it was at the Budget Committee on Wednesday!  There has been no announcement yet because the details of the final fine structure are not set and will require a bylaw to be adopted by Regional Council.  This will not take place until late summer/early fall.

We will ensure that there is public engagement with residents and businesses regarding the parking bylaw before a final decision is made, while also working with staff to adopt technology-enabled parking solutions to allow people to pay for street parking electronically.

While there remains many issues to work out, a fee review will be a good step for business, our downtowns and main streets, and for HRM.

Councillor Sam Austin, District 5
Councillor Tony Mancini, District 6
Councillor Waye Mason, District 7
Councillor Lindell Smith, District 8
Councillor Shawn Cleary, District 9

  • H Gillie

    Would it be too much of a problem to do a two-tiered ticket system? A regular ticket at $20 if someone is a few minutes late for the meter, but an additional ticket of $30 if the car is still there after a predetermined amount of time? That way people who are legitimately late getting back to their car don’t get penalized the same as someone who is just clearly using it as a cheap spot to park for the day.

    • That is something that can be explored. It might be difficult to do, it might not be. Maybe a combination of both an increase to say 40, 30 in 7 days, and an additional ticket. That is why we need public consultation!

  • Darren Parks

    Counselor Mason, Et al,

    This change is the wrong approach to the problem of staying to long at a meter. If overstay is indeed the real reason for this fine increase it would be more effective to use Bylaw P-500 sec.12(1),(2).

    Instruct the officers to “chalk” the vehicles to look for overstay parking.

    If the unstated reason is to generate revenue, then increasing fines doesn’t work that way. Increasing fines generates compliance, and in fact will reduce revenue. I have no objection to “road pricing” through the use of meters. Quite the opposite, I support user fees for using parking. There is demand for parking after 6pm and on weekends in Halifax. There is no reason not to extent parking meter hours into the times/days where there is demand for parking. This increases revenue, and maintains turnover. Business are served by encouraging parking availability. The City generates revenue to offset the cost to the tax payer for the maintenance of street parking. Also there is no reason not to increase parking meter rates at meters where demand is highest.

    These tactics are all used by the the cities you want to emulate to regulate their parking. With all the tools at your disposal why would the city want to adopt only the increased fines idea?

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