A Vancouver man is hoping to expose what he feels are "unfair" ticketing practices at a Creekside parking lot after being issued a ticket last week.
Dan Harlos was visiting Whistler last week when he parked his SUV in the free upper lot of the Creekside parkade. When he later returned to his vehicle, he found a $48 ticket issued by Whistler Parking Management (WPM), a company contracted by Whistler Blackcomb.
Harlos claims a parking attendant told him he was given a ticket because he had parked illegally in an over-height vehicle-only spot.
"I then pointed to other trucks nearby me (which) were not ticketed," Harlos wrote in a letter to mayor and council. "I was standing near to them and it was clear from my 6'1" height that those two trucks were without question at least 6 to 10 inches under (the seven feet clearance) height and clearly ought to have been ticketed. This gentleman did not give me any explanation as to why those other apparently illegally parked vehicles were not ticketed. What kind of (an) enforcement practice is that?"
Also an issue for Harlos is what he believes is "inadequate signage" indicating the over-height parking. The signs can be difficult to spot and interpret, said Harlos.
"I turned away three people with small cars who unknowingly parked in the restricted spots, which by this time were nearly impossible to discern because larger vehicles completely obliterated the 'over-height vehicle only' restriction signage," he wrote.
In an email, Whistler Blackcomb communications manager Lauren Everest said the upper lot is "meant primarily for the merchants in the area, and day skiers are supposed to park in the lower lots."
There are 1,400 underground stalls, according to WPM. The over-height stalls are designated for vehicles two metres or taller, indicated in each row by a 152-centimetre by 40-centimetre sign, which stands about 1.8 metres tall.
"The over-height vehicle signage was replaced this past summer with bigger signs so that the regulations would be more visible to drivers," explained Everest, who added that Whistler Blackcomb takes no revenue from parking enforcement in the lot.
Harlos initially believed the ticket he received was issued by the municipality, as he said there was no indication on the ticket that WPM is a private company.
"The face of the ticket would lead a reasonable person to believe that the enforcement and payment of the tickets issued by WPM has the backing of the Whistler Municipality, with all the powers that a municipality has in collecting bylaw fines," he wrote. "There is no 'Inc.;' there is no 'Ltd.,' both of which would indicate a private company. That is in my submission misleading to the general public."
Harlos, a trial lawyer, has not ruled out legal action.
Jim Watts of WPL believes the matter could have easily been resolved.
"We have very few issues with our administrative procedure, and most customers are happy with the outcome," he wrote, explaining that WPM will typically change disputed first-time notices to warnings.
"We are happy to discuss parking information by phone to customers who do not threaten legal action."