SOMETHING just went bump in the night. You peek outside, and someone's messing around your car that's parked on the street.
Time to call the police?
First find out if it's a Winnipeg parking enforcement officer -- nine of them are working through the night to nail scofflaws who violate snow parking bans or run extension cords over the sidewalk to the front street.
Paul Peters and two neighbours on College Avenue found that out the hard way when they received tickets early Wednesday morning.
The fine is $100, reduced to $75 for speedy payment, none of which is any solace for Peters, who has been running a cord to the street since snow in the back lane made it impossible to get his second car parked back there. Some area residents only have space for one vehicle in the back, and some have none, he said.
"I can't put a driveway in," Peters said. "I have a two-car garage, but one has a four-foot windrow -- I put it there so I can get into at least one of them," he said.
There's no place else to shovel the snow in the back lane, Peters said.
The tickets were marked as 12:33 a.m., said Peters, who had reckoned another neighbour turned him in to the city.
"Three tickets, one, two, three," Peters said later on Wednesday. "I just thought, you've got to be kidding me, this is Winnipeg.
"What parking official walks the streets at 12:33 a.m. handing out tickets? How am I going to plug my vehicle in?"
Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie had no sympathy for his constituents.
Tripping over an extension cord can be dangerous, said Eadie, who is blind: "Pedestrians can be able-bodied, use wheelchairs, use walkers, push grocery carts and so on. Tripping is not a fun situation, especially when you are blind."
Plowing operations don't appreciate electrical cables in their path, he said.
The city passed the following bylaw in 1977, amended in 1982: "Electrical cords: 2.15. No person other than a Utility shall place or leave on or across any part of a City street, an unattended wire, cord or cable, that is capable of transmitting electrical energy from public or private property to or across a City street."
Lots on College are 50 metres deep, said Eadie, offering plenty of space for parking. "People should consider buying or renting homes where there is enough parking space on the private lot. I know families grow, but people really need to consider these factors before buying the second or third car," Eadie said.
Running an extension cord from your house to the front street has been illegal for nearly 40 years, a city official said.
"The bylaw is in place for safety reasons, as cords may present a tripping hazard to pedestrians or become caught/pulled during plowing operations -- both on the sidewalk and on the street. Where cords are left, they can impede plowing operations," she said.
"Originally only enforced by the streets constables from the public works department, authority to issue offence notices for this was delegated to the Winnipeg Parking Authority in 2012, as the parking authority's number of enforcement officers allows for more timely enforcement," said the official.
As for overnight enforcement, "During the period of the annual snow route parking ban, nine officers and a supervisor are on duty," she said.