New tickets add “teeth” to parking eforcement in Bridgewater

Ignoring a parking ticket in downtown Bridgewater is about to get a whole lot harder.

Bridgewater police announced May 25 that motorists who fail to pay for parking in the town's downtown could find a new kind of parking ticket tucked beneath their windshield wiper.

Acting Chief of Police Scott Feener said in a news release that the new parking tickets are designed to add more teeth to the town's parking enforcement.

"For any $15.00 parking ticket, issued on or after June 1, that is unpaid within the allowed 14-day window following the writing of the ticket, a summons will be issued with an increased fine amount of $61.60," he said. "Should you wish to dispute the ticket, a court appearance will be necessary."

If a parking ticket remains unpaid, the vehicle owner will also find that Access Nova Scotia will not renew vehicle permit registration or the individual's driver's license until all outstanding fines are paid in full.

"This is the same type of process that is used in municipalities right across the country – it allows us to ensure that parking enforcement is effective and that folks aren't simply sticking their tickets in their glove compartment and choosing not to pay the fine," Feener said.

Earlier this spring, parking enforcement began again in Downtown Bridgewater after a hiatus during the Take Back the Riverbank revitalization project. Town Council opted to return to a "user pay" metered parking system to encourage traffic turnover in the core and deter parking poachers from leaving their cars in prime spaces on King Street for long periods.

A user-pay system also gave town council the flexibility to end the Parking Levy, a tax that has historically been charged to commercial properties in the downtown.

Visitors to King Street also now have more options to pay for parking – parking meters take traditional cash payments, but smart phone users can also download the Hot Spot app to pay for parking digitally.

The Hot Spot app can be used in many locations throughout the Maritimes, including Halifax, Fredericton, and Charlottetown.

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