Monday was the first reading of the Municipal By-Law Enforcement Act Enabling by-law at Thompson City Council.
If passed during the second and third readings, parking tickets would become a strictly municipal matter.
Currently, tickets for parking by-law infractions can be argued in court.
Under the new system currently on the table, if you want to fight a parking ticket you would have to go to city hall and request the ticket be reviewed by a screening officer. The screening officer will be a new position at City Hall. John Maskerine, the City of Thompson Fire and Public Safety Director, said that in other Manitoba cities, like Winnipeg, they have hired retired police officers or upstanding citizens to fill the role.
If you want to dispute the screening officers’ decision, you will have to pay a $25.00 fee and submit a written request to have the ticket reviewed by a provincially-appointed adjudicator. The adjudicator’s decision is final and cannot be reviewed or overturned.
If the ticket is brought to the adjudicator and they rule that the ticket is valid, the fine must be paid immediately and the $25.00 goes to the city. If the adjudicator forgives the ticket, the $25.00 is reimbursed.
The municipal by-law enforcement act first came about in the Legislature back in 2013, in an attempt to provide an alternate approach for processing and resolving minor by-law (specifically parking) infractions.
At council on Monday, Maskerine said that the legislation is good for everyone involved and will free up the courts. He also added that Winnipeg has been using this new system since 2014, and has only had three cases go before an adjudicator.
The first reading was passed by all members of Council, with the exception of Councillor Penny Byer, who joined the meeting via telephone. Byer opposed the by-law out of protest as she feels the Province is dumping the costs from the provincial government to the municipal level.
The second (and possibly third) readings of the by-law are scheduled for the next Thompson City Council meeting on February 13th.