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Vandals targeting city parking meters

Meters have built-in security features to prevent theft of coins, so vandals resort to damaging the machines and remove coins one at a time.  - Mark Patrick file photo
Meters have built-in security features to prevent theft of coins, so vandals resort to damaging the machines and remove coins one at a time.
— image credit: Mark Patrick file photo

Vandals targeting city parking meters contributed to a 16-per-cent-drop in parking revenue last year, according to a new report.

“Meter revenue has been consistently below target and budget for the duration of the year due largely to vandalism, theft of meters and reaction to increased parking rates in early 2010,” said Wayne Mercer, manager of community bylaws, in a report presented Tuesday.

Meter revenue as of Dec. 31, 2010 totalled $430,760.

According to the city, “less than 10” meters were vandalized over the year—a problem that’s persisted in the city for the last three years.

Vandals are showing no particular pattern in targeting meters—some are in “out-of-the-way locations” and others are on City Centre streets.

Meters have built-in security features to prevent theft of coins, so vandals resort to damaging the machines and remove coins one at a time.

Repair costs can average $1,500 per machine, and meter revenue can drop as much as $100 per day when a meter is out of order. The actual theft of coins, according to the bylaws department, is minimal.

The department is working closely with the supplier to upgrade security features of the meters. It’s also working with the RCMP to try and identify those responsible for the vandalism.

Despite last year’s drop in meter revenue, enforcement revenue rose 14.7 per cent. In 2010, revenue from bylaw infraction tickets totalled $765,274, compared to $667,165 in 2009.

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