Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Woman puzzled by '90s fines

City seeks cash for old, unpaid tickets

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Angela Ives finds it difficult to believe the Winnipeg Parking Authority is chasing her for payment of parking tickets she doesn't remember getting in 1998 and 1999.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Angela Ives finds it difficult to believe the Winnipeg Parking Authority is chasing her for payment of parking tickets she doesn't remember getting in 1998 and 1999. Photo Store

Talk about an expired parking meter.

Just the other day, Angela Ives got a notice in the mail for two unpaid parking tickets: one issued in 1998 and another in 1999.

The notice came from the Winnipeg Parking Authority with a bill for $125 (total), or the option of paying a $75 fee to appeal.

Ives has a problem: She doesn't remember getting the tickets, even though she admits getting parking tickets before. "If I received them did I pay them? Yes," she said. "Maybe I was a little late, but I paid them."

But 16 years late?

'I remember important dates; the birth of my daughters, meeting my husband. But parking tickets or speeding tickets? No. I don't want to pay this. I don't think it's right'

-- Angela Ives

"I find it bizarre that 16 years out of the blue when I can't remember 16 years ago," she said. "I remember important dates; the birth of my daughters, meeting my husband. But parking tickets or speeding tickets? No. I don't want to pay this. I don't think it's right."

Still, Ives has been informed by the city -- after calling the parking authority to question the bill -- she was given notice in 2006 via a letter sent to an address on Whellams Lane in North Kildonan, but she insists, "I never lived there. I've been living in St. James since 1999."

A spokesperson for the city said, via email, that "under the current Summary Convictions Act, municipal bylaw offences -- including parking offence notices -- are considered court-ordered fines and, as such, there is no statute of limitations and the City of Winnipeg is required to collect.

"On a regular basis, the Winnipeg Parking Authority conducts reviews of outstanding files to ensure that mailing addresses are up to date," the email added. "This process occasionally results in an outstanding account that was transferred from the WPS where the contact information was not accurate prior to the transfer of the account beginning to receive account statements."

Translation: A lot of tickets get issued. People change addresses. Notices can fall through the bureaucratic cracks.

Ives, however, isn't buying what the city is selling.

"If they want to find you enough, they can find you," She said. "I find it ridiculous. I find it bizarre. I'm just in shock that they're doing this."

Ives wonders, what if she did pay for the ticket and a mistake was made by the parking authority?

"I don't keep paperwork for 16 years," she said.

Ives is leaning towards ignoring the tickets. A city spokeswoman suggested the appeal process.

Ives said that means at the very least she'll have to cough up $75 for an appeal motion.

"I'm in the position of damned if I do and damned if I don't," she said.

"I'd rather spend the $125 on my kids."

Asked what would happen if Ives didn't pay up, the city spokesperson, again via email, replied: "Under the Summary Convictions Act, the City of Winnipeg has a number of options available to ensure payment of court-ordered fines, including where appropriate, registration of a lien against a vehicle and possible seizure and sale of that vehicle if the account is not paid."

Ives, meanwhile, said the amount of man hours the city has already spent will far exceed the $125 for two long ago parking tickets.

"That's a waste of city money right there," she said. "That's taxes going to waste. A big faux pas."

randy.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2014 B3

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