CALGARY — When the walk-in vaccination site opened at the Telus Convention Centre for Albertans 40 years and older, Chad Weyman was there on the first day. He waited five hours in line and was able to receive a shot, but he also received a parking ticket in the mail a week later.
“It’s shocking because you’ve gotta think there are hundreds of people in the same boat who went down to get vaccinated then woke up yesterday morning to have a parking ticket,” he said.
Weyman said he didn’t know the free parking being offered by the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) at the site was only valid for 90 minutes.
“It was fairly chaotic, but all we were told was to put our license plate number into ParkPlus and go get in line, which is exactly what we did,” he said.
Weyman waited in line for five hours, hoping to be lucky enough to receive the AstraZeneca shot. He now has a parking ticket for at least $40 — it’ll be more if he waits or decides to fight the ticket and is unsuccessful — and he’s not the only one.
The CPA said 1,239 parking tickets were issued at the Telus Convention Centre between April 19-25. Of those, 1,156 tickets went to people who did not register a license plate and 83 tickets were issued for people who stayed more than 90 minutes.
“Understanding how dynamic this operation is, we’re working closely with AHS and CTCC to monitor the average appointment duration to ensure our enforcement efforts are adjusted accordingly,” reads a statement from the parking authority.
“As a courtesy, our Parking Safety and Compliance team incorporates a buffer when verifying duration of stay, to understand when parkers were unintentionally delayed or purposefully overstaying their session.”
The CPA said the 90 minute time limit and license requirement is displayed on signs in the parkade and staff are told to remind people of the process. Weyman said it was never clearly communicated to him.
“I think it’s an administrative thing. If they’re gonna say ‘free parking to get inoculated’ then free parking should be free parking,” he said.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he wasn’t aware so many tickets were issued to people who were getting a vaccine, but says the ticketing system is automated. The mayor said he plans to speak with the CPA to see if tickets can be rescinded for people who were waiting in line well beyond the allotted time.