Calgary residential parking enforcement to be turned over to Park Plus

Calgary city council has given approval in principle to a proposal to turn over residential parking enforcement to the Calgary Parking Authority’s (CPA) Park Plus system.

The plan recommended by a city hall committee in April would replace the residential parking permits currently in use.

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    More than 34,000 parking permits were issued last year for the 77 Calgary neighbourhoods in which there are parking restrictions.

    Under the permit system, the city mails renewal letters to affected residents, who then must trek to city hall to pick up their permits and visitor passes. Enforcement is the most common complaint about the permits. The CPA said using the ParkPlus system could potentially to increase the tickets issued by as much as 30 per cent.

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    The new proposal would see residents register their licence plates with the CPA, either online or in person. Then Park Plus vehicles outfitted with cameras will drive through parking restricted neighbourhoods to easily find those parked illegally. People who have visitors can go online or phone to register those plates.

    The change has brought up a number of security concerns from residents and groups who fear the registration system will make it possible for the CPA to track visitors.

    CPA general manager Mike Derbyshire has tried to allay those concerns. At Tuesday’s city council meeting, he maintained the parking body takes security and privacy very seriously.

    “The CPA is held to a standard of data security and data integrity that all charter banks in Canada are, as well as most financial institutions,” Derbyshire said.

    “We are permitted by Service Alberta to collect licence plates for one reason and one reason only and that’s for enforcement purposes. Further, our agreement stipulates that we are only allowed to obtain registered owner information from the province’s database for one reason and one reason only and that’s enforcement.”

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    Coun. Druh Farrell held up final approval Tuesday. Farrell is unhappy with the proposal. She had asked for more consultation and a pilot project before the new system was rolled out. “We do consultation at the city of Calgary, especially when talking about changing a program that people have gotten used to over periods of decades,” Farrell said. “This is just basic stuff.”

    Council was told the new system would be phased in as permit renewals come due.

    The plan is expected to get third and final reading during city council’s May 29 meeting.

    With files from News Talk 770’s Aurelio Perri