A Ponoka business owner wants the downtown one-hour parking policy eased up.
Katrina Kraft, who owns Thrifty Katz This N That, has now received two tickets at $40 each for breaching the one-hour parking bylaw.
The actual sign states one-hour parking is from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., something that Kraft feels is excessive for a small community. She believes the sign has been up since the days of the old bingo hall.
What’s been happening is the town has received complaints about parking issues on the street. For her part, Kraft says she does this when loading large items into her store. It’s about necessity. “I park here when I need to unload.”
“I can’t run out and unload it when there are customers in the store,” said Kraft.
She does have a back door access to the store but a pillar near the doorway makes it difficult to place big items into the store.
“Obviously I want to have my customers park in front of the store,” said Kraft.
She added that she does have one parking space in the back alley but when she has an employee working she gives that spot to them. There is a public parking space in that back alley for businesses and customers.
In an email response to comments, the Town of Ponoka stated that there have been complaints on this block of 50 Street in the summer of 2018.
“While there is not heavy enforcement of parking rules downtown, when concerns are expressed, the town does follow up and enforce the bylaw as appropriate,” states the email.
Kraft did receive warnings from the town. “The town’s bylaw enforcement officer spoke with all businesses along that block of 50 Street (west side) last summer to ensure they were all aware of the one-hour parking restriction.”
There are three one-hour parking signs along that block: toward the north end of the block near IDA, two doors north of CIBC near Pizza Hut and the third one near the Golden Wheel Restaurant.
Kraft did receive a ticket for parking over night. She says a mechanical issue with her car forced her to leave it.
“The presence of the three signs along that block indicates that the whole block is one-hour parking,” states the town.
“The purpose of the one-hour parking restriction is to keep turnover happening in those parking spots so that customers have the most convenient possible place to park when doing business downtown,” adds the town.
Kraft wants to fight the tickets but hasn’t been given a clear answer as to how. She says on the back of the ticket complaints should go to Town Hall, but staff tell her she must deal with the bylaw department. After the first ticket, she left a message with the bylaw officer but was never called back.
Her issue is that there seems no real way to challenge a ticket in court. Ponoka News has reached out to the town for confirmation on that process.