My car was illegitimately towed by the city in Vancouver, BC. Now that I'm disputing the ticket, is there any chance of fair arbitration or do these things also go in the city's favour? Way more details inside.
This situation is kind of complicated, so please, give it a close eye.
So, I parked my car on the east side of Homer St. between Drake and Pacific (here-ish
) on the night of Sunday, January 29th around 9 PM. This block is meter-free and some of the only meter-free parking in all of downtown Vancouver. I went looking for my car on Friday (I live/work in Yaletown and generally only drive my car on the weekends) and discovered it missing, and saw a Temporary No Parking sign had been hung along about half the block, including where my car was. I got my car back from the impound yard and discovered they put up the Temporary No Parking signs at 1:30 PM on Wednesday Feb 1 and towed my car on Thursday Feb 2 at 8 AM.
When I called the city to ask about whether or not I should have been contacted or something, they said they had a list of cars that were present when the signs were hung and my license plate was not on the list. Now if they had simply said they were not required to contact me, I would have been pissed, but fine, whatever, I guess the onus is on me. But the fact that they claim my car wasn't there is absolutely maddening. Being several hundred bucks in the hole because some city employee can't do their bloody job is not okay.
This is the crux of the thing. The tow was legit in that my car was under a Temporary No Parking sign, but it was there before
the sign was hung. The city was obligated to call me in this circumstance and they didn't. That's what I'm disputing.
The city says they're required to take down the plates of all cars already parked when they hang signs and that for this area (which is about half of the unmetered 1300 block and half of the metered 1200 block), there were only two cars already parked there. Now this is absurd, because that entire block is always completely full of parked cars. Always.
Just counting the unmetred spots, there's space for 5-6 cars and there are hardly ever any empty spaces (generally only late at night, and even then it's only ever like one and that's still uncommon). To claim that only 2 of the 5-6 spots (not counting the metered spots which are also full very frequently) were taken during the middle of the day is tremendously unlikely. Parking services says when they towed on Thursday AM, there were 4 or 5 cars towed. So again, it seems very unlikely that during the normal, unmetered time there were only 2 cars, but when the Temporary No Parking sign were hung, indicating quite clearly that people will be towed, there were 4-5 cars in the exact same area.
After getting my car back, I filed a dispute on the ticket with the city (process detailed here
). (Note: this is not
court and it is no longer possible to dispute bylaw violations in court in Vancouver) Last week, I got a letter saying the screener did not cancel my ticket. So now I either have to go to adjudication or eat it and pay. Has anyone ever been through the adjudication process? Is the adjudicator just going to refer to this seemingly sacrosanct list and not give me a chance at all or do I have a hope of a successful dispute? I've been going to the 1300 block of Homer in question (it's only 2 blocks from my office) and photographing it between 1 and 2 PM, and of course, every time every single spot is full. Is this evidence of the street being constantly full going to dislodge the claim that when the signs were hung, there were only 2 cars already there?
It's just galling that I was actually wronged here. Had the bloody city just called me, I could have had my car taken care of. Any stories, successful or otherwise, would be much appreciated!