Parking meter violations down: head of bylaw

by Sidney Cohen - February 20, 2018

The city’s new parking app contributed to a major drop in parking meter violations last month.

There were 70 instances of cars parked at empty or expired meters in January, compared with 395 cases a month earlier. In January of 2017, there were 702 cases of cars parked at empty meters.

The app allows users to pay meters with their smartphones.

Doug Gillard, manager of the Municipal Enforcement Division, said the 90 per cent year-over-year decline was largely due to the new MacKay Pay parking app, which launched on Jan. 2.

The two Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) officers tasked with parking enforcement have done a “tremendous amount of work rolling this out,” Gillard told city council on Monday.

About 75 per cent of the city’s parking meters are hooked into the app, and Gillard hopes to have the remaining 25 per cent connected in the next month or so.

As of 11:30 a.m. Monday, MED had recorded 1,773 transactions on the app.

The average transaction amount was $3.05.

Doug Gillard, the head of the Municipal Enforcement Division, says the new MacKay Pay parking app has contributed to a significant drop in parking meter violations.
Sidney Cohen/NNSL photo

Gillard said the app is growing in popularity.

The first day the app went live there was one transaction, he said. Now the app is averaging about 80 transactions a day.

“And that number is climbing every week,” he said. “So it’s quite successful.”

Coun. Julian Morse said he finds the new parking app “incredibly convenient” and uses it almost every day.

“It seems to be getting taken up really well,” he said. “So it’s definitely a positive story.”

Monday was Gillard’s first appearance in council chambers since media reports in January alleging he fostered a sexist and toxic workplace at MED from the early 2000s and 2014.


Arts groups get grant money

The city has awarded about 20 per cent of its 2018 grant money to programs and projects that promote the arts.

Out of a budget of $470,400, the city gave out $99,500 to 11 organizations that support music, dance, drama, literature, visual arts and craft.

Coun. Linda Bussey was pleased to see emphasis placed on the arts, considering that arts groups are not likely to get the funding from lottery proceeds that they were hoping for.

Earlier this month, Caroline Cochrane, the minister of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA), said under lottery legislation, which is currently being revised, all revenue generated through the sale of lottery tickets will be distributed among the territory’s five regional sports and recreation organizations.

“In light of what’s happening with MACA and the lottery (revenues) all going to sports, it’s interesting to see how much of our funding is not going to sports but to community service and the arts,” said Bussey on Monday. “That’s something we should be proud of.”

Among the groups that will benefit from city grant money are performance group Borderless Art Movement, Yellowknife Community of Dance, LES Editions franco-tenoise/L’Aquilon, NWT Literacy Council and NWT Creative Collective.

Sports and recreation groups however, will still be getting a larger slice of the grant funding pie than arts organizations.

Fourteen organizations that offer “equitable accesses to diverse sport and recreation opportunities” in the city will receive a total of $104,500.

These include Basketball NWT, the NWT Soccer Association, NWT Special Olympics and NWT District Girl Guides, among others.

Another $18,000 has been awarded to two groups that put on sporting events.


Council holds special meeting on principles of MED inquiry

City council scheduled a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss principles that will underpin the official inquiry into allegations of workplace misconduct at the Municipal Enforcement Division.

According to the meeting’s agenda, those principles include: transparency, confidentiality, thoroughness and timeliness.

The agenda states that the inquiry should seek to “understand the full range of alleged workplace misconduct in MED and the extent of knowledge up through the chain of command.”

The inquiry should also be conducted in a timely manner, states the agenda, “given the public interest in reaching a resolution and restoring confidence in MED.”

The principles call for as much transparency as possible while protecting the personal information of city employees.

The city has dedicated a page on its website to the MED inquiry.

The webpage, located under the City Government tab, will be a home for public information arising from the independent inquiry.

City council launched an inquiry into MED following allegations in the media that the division’s manager, Doug Gillard, made sexual and homophobic comments about city staff, hit former MED officers in the groin, spat on their sunglasses and used security cameras to look at women in city facilities.

The webpage states that the MED investigation will look into the allegations of misconduct, how they were investigated at the time, and “other details surrounding those events.”