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Court rules Regina man must pay $25 extension cord ticket

4/20/2011 11:17:50 PM  Hit:8
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REGINA ?Bob Klassen may have been tripped up for the moment by a court decision penalizing him for running a vehicle extension cord across a sidewalk in the winter, but the decision hasn't frozen his desire to see a change to the bylaw.

On Nov. 25, the Nathan Street resident was ticketed after a parking enforcement officer noticed Klassen's car ?parked on the street ?plugged in with an extension cord that was laying across the sidewalk. Klassen elected not to pay the $25 ticket (which jumped to $60 after two weeks), instead deciding to take the matter to trial.

The trial took place Tuesday at Municipal Court in front of Justice of the Peace Paul Hebert who, at the end of the matter, found Klassen guilty and ordered him to pay the original $25 ticket. In doing so, Hebert said that while Klassen's arguments presented "a compelling reason to look at this closer," it isn't the court's place to change existing law but to uphold law as written.

"I'm not surprised," Klassen told reporters after court. "It doesn't shock me that the judge would follow the law, because that is the law. My point in fighting this bylaw wasn't just to get out of a ticket . . . My problem's with the bylaw and it affects so many people that I just couldn't leave it be. There has to be a way that we can safely have these cords across the street to keep our cars running during the winter and still be safe."

Klassen said he kept his sidewalks meticulously clear of snow and ice and made sure to place his single extension cord in what he felt was a safe way.

"I thought I was being diligent to keep it safe for the public and still be able to use the cord," he said. "Obviously there's no flexibility in the bylaw. It's written in such a way that there's absolutely no way to get a cord to the street for parking to power your vehicle that's parked on the street. I think there has to be some consideration there."

Prosecutor Jill Marlin successfully argued the traffic bylaw is "very straightforward" and that even though the city has been reviewing it, it still stands at this time.

But Klassen maintained the law doesn't take into account Saskatchewan's cold winters, nor the numerous Regina residents who don't have access to off-street parking.

"(The bylaw) doesn't take into (account) a lot of the middle and lower income (earners) don't have a lot of off-street parking and those are the ones you want to keep employed and keep getting to their jobs," he said. "They're not going to have newer vehicles that don't require the maintenance and upkeep of a . . . higher-income family. So these are the people who it really affects. You want to make sure that you have accessibility for everyone to get to work . . .

"Part of the natural winter landscape is cords across the sidewalk. I think we're all aware of that."

Klassen said he hopes the city will continue to look for ways to resolve this issue.

 
 
 
 
 

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