HRM to redo website parking ticket payment system

Auditor general report says there wasn’t enough testing done before municipality’s website went live in 2017

Residents of Halifax Regional Municipality will have a new way to pay their parking tickets online, one that will actually work.

On Tuesday, Halifax’s auditor general Evangeline Colman-Sadd released an audit of the city’s municipal website and recommended a new online parking ticket payment system.

The audit found there was not enough testing done before the website went live in 2017.

“The website was launched with some outstanding issues that impacted its functionality. The parking ticket payment was not fully tested,” Colman-Sadd said, as she introduced her report to the audit and finance standing committee at city hall.

When the new website was released, many users were frustrated as they experienced broken links, lost bookmarks, and credit card processing errors.

City staff had to work through the problems as members of the public identified them. So far, $1.9 million has been spent on the website and a total of $2.5 million has been approved by regional council.

The auditor general presented her report at Halifax City Hall, Tuesday   Stefan Sinclair-Fortin

Most of the website’s issues have been fixed, but not all.

“There are still some issues with broken links from time to time,” said Colman-Sadd.

“Fairly recently, they’ve started running an actual broken link checker, which is a way to go through and look for those and identify them. So they’re doing something proactive now to try to identify those broken links.”

Colman-Sadd said the current parking ticket payment system will remain in place until management is able to have a new system to replace it sometime this year.

More details of the audit were discussed in private. Colman-Sadd wasn’t able to say much about what was discussed behind closed doors.

“The only thing I can say about the in camera (session) is that it’s not a matter of where there’s a fraud, and other than that, it’s just an area that I felt it was important to only report in camera — not before public,” she told reporters.

According to Coun. Matt Whitman, part of the discussion was about how a new company will be contracted to complete the website. The company originally contracted to build it is now bankrupt.

Stefan Sinclair-Fortin

Stefan Sinclair-Fortin

Stefan is a journalist who lives in Halifax. When he isn’t staring at a screen, he can be found falling off of Nova Scotia’s granite cliffs or frigid waves.

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