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Date: April 09, 2009

Towing Replaces Fines in Wake of Court Decision

Starting immediately the University of Victoria will no longer issue fines for parking violations but will instead issue tickets warning car owners that a subsequent violation will result in their cars being towed. These tickets will be left under cars’ windshield wipers.

The decision comes in the wake of a recent BC Supreme Court ruling against the University of British Columbia determining that UBC did not have the power to issue parking fines under the University Act which governs the province’s universities. The judgment determined that UBC does not have the right to levy fines but it does have the right to regulate and charge for parking on campus.

“UVic was not party to the recent lawsuit against UBC concerning the validity of their parking fines, but in light of the judgment in that case we will cease issuing fines and collecting payment on past fines,” says UVic Vice President Finance and Operations Gayle Gorrill.

“However, we will continue to enforce our parking policy and require the payment of parking fees in order to support our sustainability goals of reducing single-occupant vehicles coming to campus and ensure that the campus continues to be safe and accessible. Parking fees help cover the cost of maintaining parking facilities and contribute to transportation demand management initiatives such as cycling infrastructure and employee bus pass subsidization.” These initiatives have helped reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles coming to campus by 12 per cent since 2006.

Gorrill says the university would prefer an alternative to towing cars that violate parking policy, but without the ability to levy fines the judgment leaves UVic with little choice. “We will be looking at other ways to lessen the impact of this decision on drivers, such as immobilizing vehicles instead of towing them.”

Previously UVic would issue $25 citations to vehicles with invalid or no parking permits. Citations were also issued in addition to a towing charge to vehicles parked in fire lanes, in no parking areas, or in parking spaces for people with disabilities if the vehicle did not display an appropriate permit. UVic will continue to have these vehicles towed.

Commencing on April 9, vehicles in contravention of the parking policies will initially receive a warning and thereafter will be towed or immobilized. Parking violations accrued before April 9 will not result in towing or immobilization of a vehicle. This is a temporary response to the current court judgment and may be adjusted as a result of its appeal to the BC Court of Appeal.

UVic’s appeal process for parking penalties remains in effect.

Media contacts:

Pete Zacour (Campus Security Services) at 250-721-6107 or petez@uvic.ca
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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