BY ROBERT JANES
Conestoga College’s Security and Parking Services began the enforcement of two pilot projects on March 27.
“This was our first full year of doing parking enforcement ourselves, in-house as opposed to city bylaw,” said Janet Mannella, manager of occupational safety, security and parking services. “We’ve had a few trials and errors with some things and we’ve had to adjust our approaches and one of the approaches that we want to change is from towing the vehicle to booting the vehicle.”
In the past, Conestoga’s parking services towed vehicles of owners who had outstanding tickets. On the fourth ticket, the vehicle would be towed to a third party’s lot at the expense of the student, faculty or staff member who had parked without a valid parking permit.
On March 27 Security and Parking Services ceased towing vehicles and began to place vehicle immobilizers, or boots, on the front tire, along with the placement of pylons and signs around the vehicle to notify the owner.
“It’s a way to get them to come into the office and we educate them, we tell them that their parking is suspended. We do all the same things that we would do with the towing but now we just go back out and we take the boot off,” said Mannella.
Opinions on the boot varied among Conestoga students.
“Well, the only problem is that the car’s stuck there so it takes up a parking spot,” said Henry Daemen, a second-year mechanical engineering student.
Daniel Eckhart, a third-year mechanical engineering student, agreed, saying, “Once your car gets a boot on it, you’re going to buy a pass or park somewhere else. Now they got a few tickets out of you and the parking pass you initially refused to buy.”
Mannella said Security and Parking Services will not hand out tickets during the first month or for a first offence. Instead, they will educate the driver on parking regulations and fees.
“If it’s your first time, or you’re a visitor and you’re not aware, obviously we won’t give you a ticket,” said Mannella. “But if you continue to violate (parking regulations) on purpose there are some consequences and it could possibly go to student code of conduct. For employees it could go to employee discipline but we hope not to do that.”
The second pilot project that Security and Parking Services initiated was smoke-free entrances at some of the doors on campus.
“It doesn’t include just smoking, it is smoking devices, e-cigarettes, anything that gives off a plume of polluted air or smoke,” said Mannella.
The initial legislation was put in place in 2015 by Smoke-Free Ontario, which enforced no smoking within nine metres of any entrance.
“It will expand out another nine to 10 metres upon approach to warn people that they’re going to be entering (a non-smoking zone) and if they choose to use that door, it’s a smoke-free door,” said Mannella.
Entrances that are now smoke-free are Doors 5 and 6, as well as the doors at the rec centre and the power house. However, if the project is successful it may expand to more doors and other campuses.
“I’m not a smoker,” said Daemen. “All of my buddies are though so I’m pretty used to the stench. It doesn’t bother me either way.”
Mannella said Security and Parking Services will provide education and give warnings for one month. Afterwards, they will begin handing out $30 tickets to smokers who are repeat offenders.