Municipal enforcement officers need some real work
Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 06:00 am
As a long time resident of St. Albert I have come to accept the overpolicing of our streets. As any resident knows, there are photo radar and red light cameras just about everywhere. I don’t have as big a problem with this as many others do because if you don’t speed or run red lights, you shouldn't have any problems. I guess the amount of tickets generated from these two enforcement methods must not be quite enough, however, because the St. Albert municipal enforcement officers are now trolling their own parking lot.
On Tuesday Jan. 22 I stopped by the St. Albert RCMP detachment to get a criminal record check done on myself so that I could volunteer at my son’s elementary school. Upon arriving, the visitor parking to the right as you enter the parking lot was full but I noticed a sign that also pointed to “visitor parking” on the left. I turned to the left looking for an empty spot and I noticed that much of this parking was “Staff Parking” and was clearly identified as such but there was a section towards the end of the middle row that had no signage at all and there was an empty spot there between two squad cars. I chose to park here, feeling confident that this would not be an issue.
I went inside and began filling out my criminal record check forms, after a couple of minutes one of the ladies at the counter called my name and told me that I had to move my car or I was going to get a ticket. Of course I was quite surprised to hear this because as I had said previously I looked carefully at the signs to ensure I was not parked where I shouldn't be. I went outside to my car and a St. Albert municipal enforcement vehicle was sitting there idling behind my car and the officer got out of his car and asked me if this was my vehicle. I said that it was and he told me I would have to move it. I pointed to the signs and said that the staff parking is clearly marked as being to the right of where I was parked. His response was that I was parked between two squad cars. I guess that’s not allowed here and signs aren't necessary. He pointed up to the first row of squad cars and asked if I would have parked up there between two squad cars. I said I would if there weren't signs indicating that I couldn't. I then asked him to show me where it says I can’t park here and he said there is a sign when you enter the parking lot. (There isn't, I double-checked) He then said that he wouldn't be giving me a ticket in this case however. I guess he expected me to be grateful because apparently parking between two squad cars is now illegal in St. Albert. I wasn't going to waste my time arguing about this so I moved my vehicle up to the visitor parking immediately outside the entrance as a spot had opened since I had arrived. I then went back in for two more minutes to complete the criminal record check that I had started.
If the City of St. Albert municipal enforcement officers have nothing better to do than patrol their own parking lot for vehicles that are legally parked then I would suggest that we have too many municipal enforcement officers employed by the City of St Albert and maybe some cut-backs are in order. Just think of the tax money we could save.
Dan Schykulski, St. Albert