Community / Guelph / Opinion

$30 well spent?

Last week I had the privilege to visit the Guelph City Hall. Well, at least the front desk at the City Hall. A multi-million dollar building that has been a bit of a sore point for some residents, but even more so for the contractors who have taken us to court over it.

Nonetheless I found myself at the front desk of this building last week. Not to pay taxes (they’ve already robbed me blind there). Not to buy bus tickets (it was cheaper for me to pay the $1.75 to park in the lot). And sure as hell not to purchase a dog license (which will be the topic of a future blog post). Nope, I was there to pay a $30 parking ticket.

So here is my dilemma. I don’t want to pay it, but I have to.

I really can’t afford to pay it considering the fact that $30 buys school lunches for a week, or diapers for ten days, or daycare for one day. $30 is essential for a family of five on a single income.

On the other hand, I made the mistake of leaving the truck on the street overnight. So I deserve the ticket. Right?

I could go to court and fight it. And I know just what I would say too.

I would tell the judge that it was an accident. I would remind the judge that the whole purpose of overnight parking restrictions from Nov-April is to allow for efficient snow clearing by the city plows. I would mention that I too plow snow and when it snows, I am at work long before the 2am restriction begins. Therefore, if I am parked on the road overnight, the snow plows and salters are not running anyway and my vehicle is not in their way.

I could also mention that our street only gets plowed 3 or 4 times a winter anyway (if we are lucky) and they rarely seem to plow any closer than 6 feet away from the curb so most vehicles would be safe parked on the road. I could tell the judge how many times I have seen vehicles parked overnight on major roads/bus routes. I could also speak of the time one year that I watched a by-law officer stop on Janefield Ave, get out of his vehicle, notice that there was more than a dozen vehicles in violation of the parking by-law, slump his shoulders (seemingly in defeat), and return to his car and drive away without issuing a single ticket. Coincidentally, I could then mention how the city snow plow clipped and demolished one of those very cars that same evening while plowing the street. And I know this to be true because I saw it myself while working on that main road that night.

Yet there I am at city hall waiting in line and the whole time thinking about why I shouldn’t pay the $30. But bottom line is, I know I deserve it because I parked on the street overnight.

But I didn’t want to pay, but I had to.

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