No issue at traffic court, province says

Dave Bartlett
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The minister responsible for Service NL says there should be no confusion about when a ticket can or cannot be issued for illegally parking in a blue zone.

Earlier this week at a St. John's city council meeting, Coun. Gerry Colbert said two conflicting pieces of provincial legislation mean city bylaw officers sometimes don't give out tickets to people improperly parked in a space meant for someone with a disability.

Colbert said tickets aren't issued unless the parking space has both a sign and blue paint marking the spot. The council meeting was also told the issue seems to be with the Crown prosecutor's office, which won't follow through on a charge unless both markings are in place.

"The regulations are absolutely in shambles," Colbert said at the time.

But provincial officials say that's not true.

"The Crown prosecutor's office, they prosecute tickets under the Highway Traffic Act or the city bylaws, so there is no issue at all that has come to the office of prosecutors at traffic court regarding the enforcibility of those tickets issued by the city," a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice told The Telegram this week.

But she said Service NL is the department that sets the rules for blue zones.

Service NL Minister Paul Davis said while there seems to be some misunderstanding at the municipal level, the law is quite clear.

"The confusion lies, I think from their part, (with) two pieces of provincial legislation," Davis said.

He said when it comes to writing tickets, the Highway Traffic Act says either a sign or blue paint is sufficient for a ticket to be legal.

But Davis said provincial regulations governing blue zones were updated in February, when the province raised the fines for parking in blue zones and updated accessability regulations for new and existing buildings.

He said the new regulations lay out what building owners have to put in place to provide blue zones: new buildings must have permanent signage and spaces marked in blue, while existing buildings have until the end of September to comply with the rules.

But Davis said these guidelines have nothing to do with parking enforcement.

Meanwhile, the city's legal and building departments are looking into the issue from the city's end to see where any confusion might be.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

 

Organizations: Service NL, Department of Justice, The Telegram

Geographic location: St. John's

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Recent comments

  • PETER
    March 25, 2012 - 09:04

    To UMM and Parking, it seems you missed the point altogether. Those zones are for people who are disabled, not for you based on some sort of technicality. Why don't people just respect them, not park and fight on a technicality, your total ignorance and lack of respect is showing. Get it? Don't park there, if you do you deserve a ticket regardless of signage or measurements, if it's blue or signage is there, just don't park there, have respect for what it is intended for.

    • Mens Rea
      March 27, 2012 - 16:12

      The other point is that the spots shoudl be uniform to avoid people from accidentally parking and getting tickets. All wider spots are blue spots. If I see a spot that is not wider, then I will assume I should be able to park there because a non-wider blue spot will just blend in with the surroundings. Blue spots should have a sign. If I do not see a sign, then I wil park there because the paint on the pavement could be worn off or covered with snow. In the principals of justice there must be "actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea" or "the act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty". How can I be guilty if I do not know what I am doing is wrong, ie a blue spot does not scream "blue spot" to me when I park there because it does not fit the legal discription of a blue spot.

  • Dee
    March 24, 2012 - 15:29

    Yes I agree fine these people $1000.00 if you have too,but $25.00 for an expired meter that's a bit much,what used to be 15 minutes for 25 cent now it's only 12 minutes for a quarter so watch that folks,I brought my mother down tonthe pass port office asyou can imagine trying to get a blue zone,a government business and no where to park,I did get a wheel chair spot just up the road from the building which was the closest to there anyway,time I got my mother out of the car,up the road,on the elevator,keep in mind a government building to have her pass port renewed I had 20minutes gone on the meter plus another 20 minutes back,so that's just 40 minutes gone just to travel to an office,do something put your pass port office else where.

  • Umm City Police Enforcing Provincial Laws Wha
    March 24, 2012 - 15:04

    So, the City of St. John's parking tickets say "(Car).... (location).... thereby committing the following offence under the by-law (blank) section (blank)." Therefore, the City only tickets under the St. John's By-laws because the ticket has no mention of the Highway Traffic Act. So, if I get a ticket and challenge it, it should be dismissed if the spot has paint but no sign because I am being charged under the By-laws and a new ticket with a new charge should be written under the Highway Traffic Act. If they actually do charge me under the Highway Traffic Act it might be a cheaper ticket. But, would being charged for the same alleged offence under two separate sets of laws be double jeopardy and not allowed.

  • Parking with a measure tape
    March 24, 2012 - 14:55

    Singage or not, there are still another questions on measurements. St. John's Ticketing By-Law says that a disabled spot must have a sign with no size requirements on the spot. The Provincial Buildings Accessibility Act (grandfather exempts pre-1981) Regulations say that they must be 2400 millimeters (7.87 feet) wide with a 1500 millimeter wide adjacent no parking access aisle to allow for easy movement of accessibility devices. The Provincial Highway Traffic Act Regulations say that the spots must be 3900 millimeters wide including the 1500 millimeter wide aisle. So, it seems that you should be able to park without a permit if: 1) It is a pre-1981 spot and is less than 3900 millimeters. 2) It is a post-1981 spot and is less than 2400 millimeter and/or does not contain a specially marked "no parking" 1500 millimeter access aisle. because by definition, these spots are technically not mobility impaired spots.