Parking tickets bring a smile... - David Horn
Jim Ramsden was anything but full of Christmas spirit when he discovered a $30 parking ticket on his SUV in front of his Stouffville home early yesterday.

"I was pink fluffy diced off like anyone is," the 52-year-old said.

But his mood suddenly brightened when he discovered he could pay the fine with an unwrapped toy of equivalent value at the Whitchurch-Stouffville Town Hall.

"I am one of the world's worst grinches around Christmas, (but) it transformed me. It really did, because attached to the ticket was a second piece of paper saying you could pay your parking offence by a donation of toys. And automatically that kind of made me feel good," Ramsden said.

"I think all of us want to do something good, but we just need a little nudge and for me it was the nudge," he said, adding he immediately went out and bought $55 worth of toys and dropped them off at town hall.

"I would like to challenge other communities to do it as well. If Toronto did it for just one day, can you imagine?"

It is the first year for the Whitchurch-Stouffville toys-for-tickets program and, if Ramsden's reaction is any indication, it's shaping up to be a popular alternative to paying a fine. The City of Kingston started a similar program last year.

"My staff went out this (Monday) morning and issued just over 150 tickets (for being improperly parked overnight on snow routes) ... and we had people coming in this morning with $30 tickets but $50 toys," said Keith Saunders, Stouffville's senior bylaw enforcement officer.

"People seemed to have really taken to this ... they might not appreciate giving thirty bucks to the town but they don't mind giving a toy," Saunders said.

The toys will be turned over to the Stouffville Lions Club for distribution on Dec. 15, he said.

"It's a tremendous idea," said Russ Holder, secretary of the Lions Club.

Originally it was only going to be for just this week, but Saunders said he and others are recommending to Mayor Wayne Emmerson that it be allowed to continue for awhile longer.

"I think we could extend it for a couple of weeks to make sure we get good response," Emmerson told the Toronto Star.

Susan Winn, the cheery woman who answers the phone at town hall, for many years now has organized a North Pole Depot as a central location for toy donation.

"The parking tag thing ... is a good way to incorporate our North Pole Depot and donate the toys to that, which then are going to go locally to people in need.

"The response has been enormous. One gentleman even joked that he was going to leave his car out again just to get a parking ticket," Winn said.

"He just thought what a good way it was to show the true heart of Stouffville."

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Parking tickets bring a smile... - Snakey
What a really simple, but nice idea!

It'll never happen here. Car parking fines are regarded as a nice little earner here, and the companies that run the 'enforcement' such as NCP will still want their pound of flesh!
 

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