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CITY CLERK Consolidated Clause in Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, which was considered by City Council on July 25, 26 and 27, 2006. 3 Parking ...

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CITY CLERK Consolidated Clause in Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, which was considered by City Council on July 25, 26 and 27, 2006.

3 Parking for Veterans City Council on July 25, 26 and 27, 2006, adopted this Clause without amendment. _________ The Policy and Finance Committee recommends that City Council adopt the staff recommendations contained in the Recommendations Section of the report (June 30, 2006) from the City Manager. Purpose: To report on a method for providing free parking for veterans in the City of Toronto at on-street pay-and-display machines and parking meters and at off-street municipal parking facilities that recognizes the contribution of veterans and is administratively workable. Financial Implications and Impact Statement: The Toronto Parking Authority has estimated that lost revenues and additional operating expenditures that would be incurred upon implementation of the recommendations in this report would be approximately $10,000 for each City-wide event, with local events having a wide range of potential financial impacts, from inconsequential up to a high of $3,000 each. These costs can be absorbed within current budgets. In his January 17, 2006 report, the President of the Toronto Parking Authority estimated that unlimited free parking for veterans could cost the Authority $500,000 annually for every thousand veteran licence plates in use, with the total potentially reaching millions annually. Since that report, the number of veterans licence plates in Ontario has increased from 17,000 to over 22,000. It is expected that if veterans licence plates had a financial value such as unlimited free parking, their number in the City and the GTA could increase substantially. The Deputy City Manager and Chief Financial Officer has reviewed this report and concurs with the financial impact statement. Recommendations: It is recommended that: (1)

on September 17 (Battle of Britain) and November 11 (Remembrance Day) of each year commencing in 2006, and on June 6 (D-Day) of each year commencing in 2007, during

Toronto City Council July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

2

Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, Clause 3

permitted hours, all vehicles bearing a valid Ontario Veteran Licence Plate be exempted from standard parking fees at all on-street parking meters and parking machines, and at parking machines and parking meters in municipally operated parking facilities, and in municipally operated parking facilities where attendants are stationed; (2)

to recognize the contribution of veterans and to facilitate the participation of veterans in special events held in their honour, the Royal Canadian Legion, acting on behalf of all veterans, liaise with the Toronto Parking Authority and the Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Unit for the exercise of localized parking considerations to support events honouring veterans that occur from time to time, such as Warriors’ Day at the Canadian National Exhibition or events whose date varies from year to year, such as commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic on the first Sunday in June and any other event specifically honouring or commemorating a significant military event; and

(3)

the appropriate traffic and parking by-laws be amended and the appropriate City officials be authorized and directed to take the necessary action to give effect thereto.

Background: The Policy and Finance Committee considered a report regarding free parking for Canadian Veterans dated January 17, 2006, from the President of the Toronto Parking Authority at its meeting held on April 11, 2006. The Committee referred that report to the City Manager and requested the City Manager to: “(i)

“(ii)

convene a meeting with the following interested parties: the Royal Canadian Legion, the Toronto Parking Authority and the City of Toronto, to make recommendations to the Policy and Finance Committee on a permitted system for free parking in municipal parking places which has the following criteria: (a)

recognizes the sacrifices of those who served in the World Wars and the Korean Conflict;

(b)

is administratively workable; and

(c)

is enforceable; and

give consideration to the communication (April 11, 2006) from Mr. David Adamson, District D Chair of the Royal Canadian Legion, and other correspondence received respecting this matter; and

“submit a report to the Policy and Finance Committee, as soon as possible, respecting this matter.” Staff of the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) and the City Manager’s Office met with David Adamson, District D Chairman, and Lorraine Drake, District D Commander, of the Royal Canadian Legion to discuss the provision of free parking to Canadian veterans. Staff have also discussed this matter with interested members of Council at their request. This report

Toronto City Council July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

3

Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, Clause 3

summarizes the results of those discussions and the supplementary information that has been gathered. Staff of the Toronto Parking Authority, the Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Unit and City Legal Services, Transportation Services and Revenue Services were consulted during preparation of this report. Comments: Recognition and Commemoration: City Council, on behalf of the citizens of Toronto, has expressed the desire to honour the sacrifices made by veterans in foreign wars and conflicts by conveying a benefit to veterans in commemoration of those events and sacrifices. In recognition of the designation by the federal government of 2005 as “The Year of the Veteran”, City Council, at its meeting of July 19, 20, 21 and 26, 2005, granted veterans with a valid Ontario Veteran Licence Plate free parking both on-street and at off-street parking facilities operated by the TPA. This parking charge exemption expired at the end of 2005 and is no longer in effect. Subsequently, the City was requested to consider extending free parking for veterans indefinitely. This request has raised questions about when free parking should be provided, the persons to whom a parking fee exemption should apply, how it might be implemented and its cost. Identification of Veterans for Parking Purposes: Discussions with both the Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement Unit (PEU) and the Toronto Parking Authority have indicated a strong preference to use the Province’s existing Ontario Veteran Licence Plate or “poppy plate” to administer and enforce veterans’ parking. The veterans plate program is administered by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation who issue the plates and the Royal Canadian Legion who certify that plate applicants are eligible veterans. This vanity plate is offered at no cost to qualified applicants by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation except for the regular vehicle licence registration fee. The Legion charges a $5 processing fee for certification that the applicant is eligible for the plate. While much of the discussion on the subject of veterans parking has focused on veterans of WWI, WWII and Korea, this group is not exclusively eligible for veterans poppy plates. In cooperation with the Royal Canadian Legion, the Province established the following eligibility criteria for an Ontario Veteran Licence Plate as any person who served honourably: (i)

in WWII or in Korea during the Korean war as a member of any of the following: the Canadian Forces, an allied force, the Merchant Navy or the Ferry Command;

(ii)

for a minimum of three years in the Canadian Regular Forces (may still be serving);

(iii)

for a minimum of three years of actual paid duty (1095 days) in the Canadian Reserve Forces or has been awarded the Canadian Decoration (CD);

(iv)

in NATO operations or as a member of a United Nations peacekeeping force as a member of any of the following: the Canadian Regular or Reserve Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, another Canadian police force, or an allied force; and

Toronto City Council July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

(v)

4

Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, Clause 3

in the Vietnam War in the forces of the United States or its allies during this war and who was a Canadian citizen at the time of such service.

Therefore, while the poppy plate provides the most effective means for the City to administer parking for veterans, use of the plate would not restrict this benefit only to veterans of WWI, WWII and Korea. When Might Free Parking for Veterans be Provided: City and Toronto Parking Authority staff discussed with representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion the occasions when the Legion would wish free parking to be provided for veterans. While a direct relationship between providing free parking for veterans and recognizing the contributions of veterans has not been established, it has been agreed that veterans should not be required to pay for parking so they can freely participate in special events held in their honour. Generally, there are two occasions when free parking would be of special interest to the Legion - specific days of the year that would be recognized on a City-wide basis, and geographically limited events that occur from time to time. The City-wide events include June 6 (D-Day), September 17 (Battle of Britain) and November 11 (Remembrance Day). Implementation of free parking on these dates would require amendment of the City’s traffic and parking by-laws for those dates, and the provision of extra staffing at TPA facilities on those dates. Amendment of City traffic and parking by-laws would not be necessary to support specific events, such as Warriors’ Day and the Canadian National Exhibition, or dedication of the Veterans’ Memorial at Queen’s Park in September this year, that have a local impact because administrative procedures are in place to recognize and manage local situations. Finally, there are events whose dates change from year to year, such as commemoration of the Battle of the Atlantic on the first Sunday in June, that would also require specific, localized, responses. These local or specific events can be managed through a co-ordinated response between the TPA and the PEU, provided that adequate notice is given by the Legion. Another issue is that the veterans poppy plate designates a special status for vehicles, not persons. Therefore, while the plate may be issued to an eligible driver, the vehicle may not always be driven by that person and there would be significant operational difficulties in restricting parking benefits to only the veteran to whom the plate was issued or to create a limited class of veteran to whom any specific benefits would accrue. Narrowing the definition of veteran to a more selective group than that used for the Province’s poppy plate program (e.g., only veterans of WWI, WWII and Korea) would require the creation of an entirely new permit system on a basis different from the Provincial system administered and paid for by the City. Implementation: Implementing a policy of free parking for veterans poses a number of administrative and logistical challenges. Discussion with the PEU indicates that on-street enforcement of poppy plate parking privileges would be relatively simple to implement once the necessary by-law

Toronto City Council July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

5

Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, Clause 3

changes to the City’s parking by-laws have been made, similar to what was done in 2005 to commemorate the Year of the Veteran. In practice, this would mean that Parking Enforcement Officers would ignore vehicles with poppy plates in locations and at times that parking is permitted, but would ticket vehicles with poppy plates if they were parked at locations or at times when parking is prohibited. Similarly, the PEU could provide parking considerations in support of local events in specific locations on specific days as they do now for other events and special circumstances. Providing free parking in TPA-managed off-street facilities poses significant administrative challenges in both automated and manned lots. The first issue is revenue control in manned lots, where patrons enter with a parking ticket and require manual exiting. Since the exit control arm cannot be raised unless a pass card is swiped or a cash drawer is opened, a transaction must be commenced that would require manual processing to complete. In unmanned facilities, there may not be an individual on-site to exempt a veteran from charges, resulting in the veteran having to pay to exit and seek reimbursement at a later time. This could be addressed by the TPA by having personnel on-site on selected days at selected locations to provide exemptions to parking charges. Since this staffing requirement would be limited to a few days annually, the additional staff requirements could be absorbed within their current approved operating budget. Conclusions: City Council has previously recognized the sacrifices made by veterans in the defense of Canada. It is therefore recommended that free on-street and off-street parking be provided for vehicles bearing valid Ontario Veterans Licence Plates on certain selected days each year as identified by the Royal Canadian Legion and at local events specifically honouring veterans. Contacts: Maurice J. Anderson, President, Toronto Parking Authority 33 Queen Street East, Toronto, M5C 1R5 Tel: 416-393-7276; Fax: 416-393-7352 Superintendent Wes Ryan, Commander, Parking Enforcement Unit, Toronto Police Service 1500 Don Mills Road, Toronto, M3B 3K4 Tel: 416-808-6653; Fax: 416-808-6602 Nancy Autton, Manager, Governance Structures and Corporate Performance, Strategic and Corporate Policy/Healthy City Office, City Hall, 10th Floor, East Tower, Tel: 416-397-0306; Fax: 416-696-3645; [email protected] __________ The Policy and Finance Committee also considered a communication (July 14, 2006) from Sean Pollack, and a communication (July 17, 2006) from David Adamson, which was distributed at the July 18, 2006, meeting of the Policy and Finance Committee and a copy is also on file in the office of the City Clerk, City Hall. _________

Toronto City Council July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

6

Policy and Finance Committee Report 6, Clause 3

Mr. Sean Pollock addressed the Policy and Finance Committee. The following Members of Council also addressed the Policy and Finance Committee: -

Councillor Frances Nunziata, York South-Weston; and

-

Councillor Jane Pitfield, Don Valley West. _________ City Council – July 25, 26 and 27, 2006

Deputy Mayor Bussin declared an interest in this Clause, in that her father is a veteran and her brother and sister-in-law are members of the Armed Forces.