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Proposed HRM 'booting' bylaw threatens their business, companies say

·2 min read
The proposed bylaw calls for a 30-minute time limit for someone to come and remove a parking boot. (Shutterstock / Kira_Yan - image credit)
The proposed bylaw calls for a 30-minute time limit for someone to come and remove a parking boot. (Shutterstock / Kira_Yan - image credit)

Some parking management and enforcement companies say a proposed bylaw to oversee the so-called practice of "booting" on private parking lots in the Halifax region could put them out of business.

The bylaw would require clear signage, uniformed employees who are annually designated special constables, and a 30-minute time limit for someone to come and remove the parking boot — a device that attaches to a tire to prevent a vehicle from moving.

Details of the proposed rules, which also suggest a maximum "release fee" of $60, were presented Thursday to the municipality's transportation committee.

"That's a 40 per cent reduction in what we charge right now," said Daniel Watson, the owner of One-Shot Parking Solutions, which uses parking boots as its method of enforcement.

"A reduction of that magnitude makes it impossible to provide a living wage to my employees, as well as operate the business."

Industry weighs in

He and other industry representatives presented their concerns during the meeting's public participation time after councillors had already endorsed the recommendation.

Watson, who's been in the business for eight years, said other immobilization companies in Atlantic Canada charge $135.

An employee of One-Shot also raised concerns about the 30-minute time limit on removing parking boots.

"I try to get there as quickly as possible because the faster I do, the less agitated people are," said Darcy Garrison, who has worked for One-Shot for five years. "But reducing the time to 30 minutes would make it almost impossible to operate."

Brandon Ellis, manager of parking management company Target Park, said the proposed bylaw was like "using a sledgehammer to kill a fly."

More discussion needed, say councillors

Coun. Becky Kent said hearing more from the industry is important as council makes a decision.

"The impact on businesses is a big priority for me," said Kent.

The chair of the transportation committee, Waye Mason, pointed out that this is not the end of the conversation.

"We are not making a final decision today," he said. "We're recommending regional council have a public hearing so both sides can make presentations."

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