MINDEMOYA – Members of the Manitoulin Community Police Advisory Committee are perplexed why the e-ticketing process, in which an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer would be able to write out a ticket and put it on a windshield of a driver who illegal parked or stopped in an area, can’t be prosecuted in courts.
“From what has gone on in the past I wonder if we can lobby and make our comments known that e-ticketing is needed and express our concerns that that it isn’t in place and the courts are not prosecuting them. We have to come together as consorted group of stakeholders to solve this problem,” stated Bryan Barker, a Billings Township councillor at a CPAC meeting last week.
Steve Shaffer, a Central Manitoulin councillor suggested that he, Mr. Barker and CPAC chair Al Boyd could put together a letter.
“I agree, safety is the concern and someone is going to get hurt at one of these locations (Bridal Veil Falls highway area in Kagawong or the Highway 542-551 downtown corner in Mindemoya with illegal parking and speeding).”
At the last CPAC meeting, Manitoulin OPP Staff Sergeant and Operations Manager Helena Wall indicated that she would provide an update on the status of the e-ticketing situation (in which an OPP officer can process and hand out tickets to those people parking illegally in an area). She told CPAC members at last week’s meeting that in discussion with Sergeant Mike Patterson the bylaw (e-ticketing) is not being prosecuted in the courts.
“We had been told previously by that e-ticketing was available to municipalities as long as correct signage is in place, such as no parking in an area,” said Mr. Shaffer.
However, it was pointed out this is no longer available to OPP officers as courts are not prosecuting e-tickets. Officers have to wait to ticket the driver of a vehicle that, for example, is illegally parked.
Staff Sergeant Wall encouraged municipalities or individuals to contact the OPP when someone is illegally parking immediately.
“We have to get something done with that,” stated Mr. Barker. “At the last POA (Provincial Offences Act) meeting this was discussed as well. Someone is going to get hurt or killed because of all of this.” He pointed out Billings council had lobbied the MTO to get proper signage in place in the highway area by Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong with the idea that OPP officers would be able to use the e-ticketing system for drivers parking illegally. “My next comment is that Central Manitoulin has an issue in its downtown area and we have as well. Is there anything we can do as a group, working with the OPP, MTO and courts to get this resolved? This is a serious issue.”
“It is a serious issue,” said Mr. Shaffer. “We got signage put up and markings on the road put up at our corner. We were lead to believe that e-ticketing would be our savior as officers wouldn’t have to sit and wait for the driver of a vehicle that was parked illegally to get back to their vehicle to hand them over a ticket. I’m surprised and disappointed that the e-ticketing process is not in place. We have done what we can as a municipality.”“My question is why isn’t the e-tickets legislation being allowed?” said Mr. Shaffer.
It was pointed out again the provincial courts are not prosecuting them.
“Can we start the process to get everyone to the table to discuss this?” asked Mr. Barker. “At the Bridal Veil Falls area people park (illegally) on both sides of the highway. When trucks or vehicles come through it becomes an area of heavy traffic where people are getting out of their cars. The OPP has been great in providing enforcement and we really appreciate what they have done to enforce the area. It really made a big difference last year, but if the ticket gets to the courts and it is quashed…”
“I can tell you Sergeant Patterson is really disappointed with the changes that have been made and the cases being quashed,” said Staff Sergeant Wall.
The e-ticketing process, “is needed,” stated Mr. Barker. “It’s a lot of money to prosecute in court, but in my eyes we can’t just not prosecute e-tickets just because of the costs involved.” He cautioned, “its just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed in that area (on the highway by Bridal Veil Falls).
Staff Sergeant Wall wondered if community members are calling to complain when someone is parking illegally. “Have business owners called? We would love to have phone calls coming in when people are parking illegally.”
“I don’t know if business owners have, but the municipality sure has,” stated Mr. Shaffer. “We can talk to death about this issue. We have relayed our concerns and I am certainly disappointed the e-ticketing has been quashed.”
Mr. Boyd suggested a letter could be drafted on behalf of the CPAC committee addressed to the POA justice court, OPP and other stakeholders to meet and discuss the concerns raised.
The committee agreed. “We need to lobby to make our concerns known about the issue with e-ticketing not being prosecuted in the courts. We have to come together as a group of stakeholders to solve this,” said Mr. Barker.