By ANDREW SOULSBY
Every day at Doon, $875 to $1,500 in tickets are placed on cars without permits.
These numbers are based on an average of 35 to 60 tickets processed per day, at $25 a ticket, according to Pam Philips, supervisor of enforcements for the City of Kitchener. She also said the number of tickets issued is higher at the start of the year when students are slow to purchase permits.
Philips was quick to point out Kitchener’s bylaw enforcement seldom handles the ticketing themselves and that their responsibility is to process the tickets after they’ve been issued by Conestoga’s own security services.
Don Willis, director of Safety and Security Services at Conestoga College, said the cons of the college processing its own tickets outweigh the pros.
“For me, it’s so much easier to have the city doing it … it’s an issue of fairness.”
The issue of fairness stems from the students’ ability to dispute the ticket, he said. In the case of the city processing the ticket, the dispute goes to trial, whereas if the school processed the ticket, the dispute would go to him and he would then need to question his staff’s decision, a ruling he would rather not make.
Although other schools do their own processing, such as Mohawk, he said, Conestoga lacks the people power to do it themselves, making it “extremely hard to collect the money.” With the city collecting it, they can transfer owed amounts to the province who will then force drivers to pay outstanding fines before renewing their vehicle’s plates.
However, at Mohawk, where a general annual parking permit can cost a student $510 and a preferred annual permit $711, transcripts, grades and diplomas are withheld until all outstanding fines are paid, according to the Mohawk student guide.
Despite a potential $222,000 in yearly revenue from parking fines being handed over to the City of Kitchener, Conestoga College raked in $1.5 million in parking revenue in 2010, according to Kevin Mullan, vice-president of corporate affairs.
The same year, operating the parking lots cost the college $805,000. Costs include general lot maintenance such as cleaning up garbage and snow removal but money also goes toward maintaining the Safety and Security Services department.
“One of my jobs as a manager is to run the office as cost efficiently as possible,” Willis said.
Since becoming the director of the department three and a half years ago, parking permit rates have increased 10.8 per cent.
In 2009, rates were raised five per cent, an increase Willis said was made in order to “catch up” to the “millions of dollars in back projects.”
These back projects include upgrading 20 to 30 cameras that are over 15 years old which are only supposed to last 10, he said, and are “all about to crash.” Another project Willis would “love to expand,” though doesn’t think it will happen this year because “money is tight,” is the BlazeCast system.
This system allows Safety and Security Services to announce vital information to every section of the school with simplicity. According to Willis, this replaced a person running up and down hallways with a megaphone.
Apart from operating costs, other reasons permits are expensive include the HST, which amounts to an additional $50, according to Willis, and each year the college’s contract with the outside security firm, Barber-Collins, increases by three per cent.
While Cory Farage, a part-time nursing faculty member, said parking is “too expensive,” she did acknowledge that the lots were clean and spaces were always available.