On Campus

"Free Parking" about to end at UBC & UVic

While the legality of UBC issuing parking tickets is still in limbo, the university, along with UVic, has decided to reinstitute the practice after a four-month reprieve

Four months ago, University of British Columbia students scored one for casual civil disobedience when the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the university had been illegally issuing parking tickets on campus for years, and had to pay back more than $4 million worth of fines. The judge in the case ruled that while UBC had the right to tow and impound vehicles parked illegally, they didn’t actually have the right to issue parking tickets (Sidenote: UBC often likes to pretend it has the same powers as a city, without any of the sticky issues that come with “democracy” and “accountability”).

In any case, the decision was appealed, but in the short term both UBC and UVic decided to stop issuing parking tickets, instead simply towing a very very small percentage of illegally parked cars. From my experience, it did little to stop students from taking the risk. However, the B.C. Court of Appeals decided to stay the part of the decision that dealt with the fines, which meant that UBC and UVic could reinstitute them until the appeal was resolved. And it appears that they’ve decided to do just that. UVic announced yesterday that the fines will be coming back on July 20th, and today, UBC followed suit. I’ve been told by Scott Macrae, executive director of public affairs at UBC, that this notice will be going on UBC’s website shortly:

Parking fines resume July 20

UBC will resume charging fines for violations of the Parking Regulations on July 20.

UBC had ceased charging fines at its Vancouver and Kelowna campuses as a result of a decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court on March 30, 2009 regarding certain issues in a class action. That decision found that, although UBC can tow vehicles parked in violation of the Parking Regulations and charge reasonable towing and storage fees,  UBC does not  have the power to charge fines under the University Act.  UBC appealed the decision on its power to charge fines, and on July 10, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ordered a stay of the decision until disposition of the appeal.

The stay enables UBC, pending the appeal, to continue to enforce the Parking Regulations by charging fines for violations, as it has done for many years. Persons who violate the Parking Regulations can once again expect to receive Traffic Notices charging fines. In addition, violators will be subject to towing as set out in the Parking Regulations.

The UBC Parking Regulations are available on the web at http://www.parking.ubc.ca

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