Halifax considers stricter regulations on car booting
Lisa Blackburn says residents complained about ‘predatory’ companies
January 24, 2020, 5:59 pm ASTLast Updated: January 24, 2020, 5:59 pm
Halifax’s transportation standing committee discussed adding stricter regulations to vehicle immobilization — also known as car booting — at a meeting Thursday afternoon.
Car booting is when a mechanism is locked onto a car violating parking bylaws in order to prevent the car from leaving.
Deputy mayor Lisa Blackburn voiced her support of enacting municipal bylaws on vehicle booting.
“Definitely there is a need for a regulation or a framework to rein in what is now the Wild West when it comes to vehicle booting,” she said.
Booting services in Halifax are currently enforced by privately owned companies. Some residents are dissatisfied with their experience with them.
During the meeting, Blackburn recounted her own negative experience with having her vehicle booted.
“Since my experience a couple summers ago, I have heard from a number of residents who felt that they were being extorted by these companies, and referred to them as predatory,” she said.
“The method of payment is a credit or debit card that is scanned through a square that’s attached to the company representative’s cellphone. That goes against every safety warning I’ve ever been told about digital safety in this era.”
In 2018, Moncton passed a bylaw requiring annual licensing for businesses providing the enforcement service. It also passed bylaws regulating signage at parking lots and created a limit of $45 to get a booting device removed.
Halifax council members are interested in implementing similar bylaws.
Some of the proposed regulations include enforcing that companies have licenses to boot vehicles, having uniformed employees, establishing a maximum rate, regulating signage at private parking lots, and having different types of payment options offered.
Coun. Waye Mason also lent his support for regulations on booting companies.
“The intention isn’t to have giant licensing fees or an onerous amount of regulation on this,” he said.
“You have to be licensed and registered to do business, and if you fail to do these things that are driving people crazy, we’ll take away your license and you won’t be able to operate.”
The committee will request a staff report on developing a bylaw for parking and booting on private property late next month.
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