Policing Committee to draft resolution on highway safety, parking concerns

MINDEMOYA – With ongoing major concerns with the safety of the public in mind, the Manitoulin Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) has set up a sub-committee, whose members will prepare a motion for CPAC members, Island municipalities and stakeholders to consider in regards to the e-ticketing issue. This is due to concerns of vehicles parking in Kagawong and Mindemoya and the concept of e-ticketing (in which Ontario Provincial Police officers could submit e-tickets to those who are parking their vehicles in areas they are not supposed to—without having to actually hand over a ticket to the driver of a vehicle) having been quashed.

“As far as Billings and Central the whole thing is a safety issue and having to balance tourism with enforcement,” stated Bryan Barker, a Billings township councillor and member of the Manitoulin CPAC at a meeting held in early March. “My concern is that at the highway at Bridal Veil Falls, someone is going to get killed there with the amount of traffic, people all over and people driving through. It’s just a matter of time. I understand the courts won’t prosecute officers assessing e-tickets to those parking illegally.”

Mr. Barker pointed out, “the reduction of speed limits probably helps a little. I think we should get all stakeholders at the table, including representatives of the courts, MTO and OPP and maybe we can come up with a resolution to this whole issue which has been ongoing for years in Kagawong, and the issue with parking in (downtown) Central Manitoulin as well.” 

Al Boyd, chair of MPAC told the members, that at the last meeting the thought of possibly drafting a letter to the Provincial Offences Act courts was discussed, with concerns the courts are not prosecuting e-tickets.

The meeting was told that e-tickets handed out by the local OPP officers for people illegally parking on Highway 540 by Bridal Veil Falls were not accepted by the POA courts, and were quashed because it was noted it costs too much to prosecute these cases. 

CPAC members Steve Shaffer and Mr. Barker were to get together to write a letter to be brought to the March meeting for consideration. However, the two parties were unable to get together to work on the letter. 

Mr. Shaffer said at the March meeting, “I wondered if a letter to CPAC for your consideration may not be the best option. Maybe we can get the approval from CPAC but also send it to individual councils indicating their displeasure with e-ticketing not being available.” 

“Central Manitoulin felt (the e-ticketing process) would be a useful tool to have in our tool box to curb the problems we are having in Mindemoya,” said Mr. Shaffer. “We need to make our voices known that e-ticketing is an important tool to have.” 

Dave McDowell, representative for Assiginack Township said, “I think something coming from CPAC indicating our concerns would be better. Many resolutions from councils don’t always get the consideration they should. A letter from CPAC might have more pull.”

“My understanding is that one of the issues on costs to the courts is that with processing and prosecuting e-tickets will require the POA courts to hire a prosecutor and an officer would have to be there and all of a sudden the cost of policing will go up,” said Mr. Boyd.

The issue has been discussed at the POA committee, said Mr. Barker. He said the expenses involved in prosecuting e-tickets is the issue and that parking illegally is just a small part of the whole thing.

Wayne Bailey, representative for Burpee-Mills said in the case of the highway going through Billings, “other municipalities are a high user of that road as well. It is a busy spot and something needs to be done to help out.” 

“We could put together a resolution and bring it back to this committee. And everyone then could take back to their own municipalities for their approval as well,” said Mr. Shaffer, who noted he would be willing to sit on a committee looking at this. Mr. Boyd and Mr. Barker also volunteered to be on the committee to draft the resolution/letter and bring it back to the CPAC committee for consideration.