Snow Removal

HRM issues nearly 400 tickets during first enforced parking bans of the year

Sports equipment and lawn decorations also an obstacle for crews, says municipality

Snow-covered cars sit along a Halifax street on Wednesday.   Matt MacNeil

The Halifax Regional Municipality handed out 398 tickets this past week to drivers not following the rules of the overnight winter parking ban.

The Halifax area received more than 10 cm of snow overnight Monday, while another system brought 17 cm to the region on Wednesday night.

The municipality is reminding drivers to find off-street parking when the parking ban is enforced.

“A lot of people did get their cars off the street, but we can still do better,” Nick Ritcey, a spokesman for HRM, said in an email Thursday. “We’d much rather get streets cleared quickly than issue tickets.”

When enforced, the ban lasts from 1 a.m. until 6 a.m. during “declared weather events,” such as big snowstorms.

Ritcey said the municipality issued 174 tickets Wednesday night, adding to the 224 tickets that were issued on Monday.

Last winter, the municipality had issued nearly 5,000 tickets. While this may seem like a lot, it doesn’t compare to the 2014-15 season, when nearly 12,000 tickets were issued.

Drivers who interfere with snow removal efforts, by leaving their vehicles on the street, face a $50 fine, and can also have their vehicle towed.

And it’s not just vehicles that obstruct crews from clearing snow.

The municipality is reminding residents to make sure obstacles such as decorations, hockey nets or trash cans are kept away from streets and sidewalks.

The HRM is also reminding residents not to shovel snow onto the sidewalk or streets, as per the Respecting Streets bylaw. Ritcey said residents clearing snow from their driveway should keep it somewhere on their property.

The HRM clears streets and sidewalks on a priority basis, depending on location and access to public services. Top priority streets include transit routes, those near hospitals and heavily travelled roads.

“We’ll get to every street, but it does take some time, so please be patient and follow the website for updates,” Ritcey said.

Residents can call 311 to report any ice and snow clearing issues.

For updates on the overnight parking ban, visit the HRM’s website, follow @hfxgov on Twitter or sign up for email or text notifications.

The parking ban will remain in effect until March 31.