London city council votes ‘no’ to Impark for city parking enforcement, opts for in-house

London city councillors have voted against a move to have Impark take over municipal parking enforcement duties in the city.

Last week, city hall staff recommended that Imperial Parking Canada Corp., also known as Impark, be awarded a three-year municipal parking enforcement contract once the current contract with Canadian Corps. Of Commissionaires Great Lakes Region expires at the end of December.

Tuesday night’s council meeting saw a 10-5 split on the decision to not allow that to happen.

Ten voted to support the request that cancels calls for proposals related to municipal parking enforcement services, as well as allowing for civic administration to implement internal parking enforcement services. This may also open opportunities to work with other municipal enforcement services.

Read more: London councillor sees ‘red flags’ in proposed move to Impark for city parking enforcement

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Mayor Ed Holder was one of the five to vote “no,” along with councillors Michael van Holst, Jesse Helmer, Anna Hopkins and Stephen Turner.

“We may have the authority to do this, (but) is this the right thing to do?” Holder asked during the meeting.

“The motion from my perspective compromises the tender process that’s in place… This may well be a great option, (but for) three years from now when the (Impark) contract is complete.”

Ward 11 Councillor Stephen Turner said he’s concerned that if the motion passes, future bids the city put out may be damaged.

“I have significant concerns… I don’t think we get to just say which rules apply to us and which ones don’t. This seems to be a theme this term, and I’m really, really, really alarmed by this.”

Read more: Free 2-hour core-area parking in London, Ont., extended to end of year

Impark scored the highest among four submissions the city received as part of a request for proposals that began in July. Its contract comes at a total annual cost to the city of $1,067,778 with the option to renew for two additional periods of one year each.

Ward 2 Councillor Shawn Lewis said last week that “a bunch of red flags” were raised over Impark’s customer service, which “… folks in the community [are] absolutely not impressed with.”

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Ward 6 Councillor Phil Squire seconded the motion brought forward by Lewis Tuesday night.

“When I heard that what we were going to do was use the staff that was going to be enforcing duties for other bylaw duties, particularly during the evening, that was a huge change for me,” said Squire.

“This bylaw staff could deal with unfortunate people who at night, we see in our city who need assistance. These (staff) would not just be enforcing parking; they would (also) be dealing with that particular issue.”

Read more: London council may standardize parking fines

According to city staff prior to voting on the motion, if the motion was to pass, the city would begin to put out job descriptions for parking enforcement officers with a job description that’s under review.

The Commissionaires’ most recent agreement with the city was a five-year single-source contract awarded in 2015.

It came at a cost of between $900,000 and $1.13 million per year, and was awarded on the rationale that the Commissionaires were the only ones who bid on tenders for the parking enforcement contract in 2005 and 2010, according to a staff report at the time.

A city report indicates London first awarded a contract to the Commissionaires for parking matters in 1988.

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— With files from 980 CFPL’s Matthew Trevithick 

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