Parking lot enforcement at the No Frills Brant street location is getting brutal.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2017



Parking is an ongoing problem in Burlington.

It is expensive and it is limited.

Commercial operations  and retailers provide parking space to attract customers.

The malls have huge parking lots which at times are packed.

John - No frills - laneway

Parking at the plaza was getting out of hand – something had to be done. The crackdown has been close to brutal.

There is a parking lot on the east side Brant Street just north of Caroline where there is the only downtown supermarket. It gets a lot of traffic.

In the past year varying levels of security have been brought in to chase off those that abuse the space.

That didn’t seem to be working so a tow truck operator was brought in to tow away vehicles that had no right to be in a parking space.

Terri, a nurse who works in Hamilton and lives in Oakville had a habit of doing her grocery shopping at the No Frills on Brant.

Tow sign - details

These are really tough rules. But the owners of the property do have the right to do what they are doing.

Last week she parked her car and was about to head for the supermarket when she found herself about to be ill.

She needed a washroom – quickly and headed for a restaurant that was not part of the plaza.

When she returned – her car was gone.

She was livid and she was broke and didn’t have the money to pay to get her vehicle out of the pound that was on Fairview – a ten minute drive away.

Terri was able to find a friend who drove into Burlington – got her to the pound where he car was sitting and able to go home; more than $300 poorer and still livid.

She felt she had a personal emergency and had to leave the property.

That isn’t the way the tow trucking company is seeing things.

The signs on the pillars in the parking lot spell it out quite clearly. You can park if you are shopping at retailers in the small mall. If you leave the property you are then parked illegally.

And you get towed.

Tow truck - no markings

Tow truck sits at the entrance watching for people who park their car in the plaza and then leave the property. stiff new rules are in place.

During our time on the site Monday afternoon we saw the tow truck cruising around the lot. The truck had no markings; it did have a female driver who took exception to us taking a picture of the truck. After confronting us and asking why we were taking pictures – we identified ourselves – and the truck left the property.

In conversations with a number of people who had parked their cars none said they knew of the new “we will tow your car” practice.

Most people wondered why the owners of the lot were being so tough. “Couldn’t they just have someone put a notice on every car parked letting them know what the parking rules were”, asked more than one of the people we talked to.

Terri, the nurse thinks it is all a scam. She thinks the owners of the property brought in the towing company to skim hundreds of dollars from people who park their cars and then leave the parking lot.

Tow signs in No Frills

Just what does “as ammended” mean?

The owners of the parking lot have the right to do what they are doing – the fee they are charging do seem excessive and the approach they are taking isn’t going to do much in the way of goodwill for anyone.

The dry cleaner I do business with wasn’t aware that cars were being towed – she usually knows what is going on.

Terri, the Hamilton nurse did have a conversation with the operator of the No Frills franchise. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation.

There is a city operated parking lot just yards to the south of the plaza that usually has space.

Tough practice on the part of the property owners, painful for those who get caught and a sign of what we might be looking at as parking gets even more difficult when all those high rise buildings begin to get built along Brant Street.

There is more to this story – just what does that “bylaw as ammended” mean – and just where does the average citizen go to get information?

Messy – and for Terri the nurse expensive.

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31 comments to Parking lot enforcement at the No Frills Brant street location is getting brutal.

  • Dean Boudreault

    Classic towing actaul tried calling the police on me stating the the tow truck driver saw me exit the bar down the road from the parking. Stating i slurred my words and asked to be towed home since i was supposedly drunk. I had actial came from the movie theatre and only said to the driver yep and i was leaving. Were the only things that i said to the driver. The police pulled me over from the driver calling them.I quickly asked for a breathalizer test and past with flying colours. Classic seems to sit in the parking lot trying to accuse people of being drunk hoping to grab a quick in pound. I called to ask questions about this. A gentlemen answered by the name of mike stating he was the owner. After stating what happened he agreed with what his driver did. I stated i wasn’t drunk and didn’t come from the bar. The officer even stated that tow truck driver said he saw me come from the bar. So two different stories. But i wasn’t drunk since i past the test. Accusing someone without proof is slander and even lying about it is wrong. Bit mike stating he is the owner still agrees with that his driver still did the right thing.

  • Rrusso

    I left for 5 mins and when I came back buddy had my truck in the air classic towing got lucky.i have 5 crimal charges atm cause these assholes.need a good ass kicking , they are sitting in the parking lot.with strippers sniffing coke , and towing your car to pay for that what a joke fuck u

  • Maggie

    I understand the issues with people who leave there vehicles for long periods of time to go other places but the rules as are posted in the sign are just not acceptable. What the sign is saying is if I want to go to the bank before doing my groceries I am in violation of the rules. How long would I be in the bank. A few minutes. What is someone to do. Park at the bank, do a few minutes banking and then get in their car to move it a few feet to the official plaza lot so they can get their groceries. Totally ridiculous. The owner obviously has no common sense with this sign. As I mentioned in a previous post I don’t drive but I have occasionally come to the plaza with a friend and we have never had a problem finding parking, not even at Christmas or other holidays. Actually I don’t think I have ever seen the parking lot completely full.


      Clearly you are not reading the signs properly then. You may park and go to any storefront(s) facing the parking lot…why on earth would you park and go to the bank and park again to shop in the same plaza. Just don’t park…shop…and enjoy the rest of downtown while utilizing private property parking…its very simple. Be nice to other people and share the limited parking that plaza has to use

  • Mike

    It’s about time they did something about the parking at the Brant Street plaza. I have been a patron of the plaza for almost 25 years there were times I had to go round the lot three or four times looking for a parking spot and going into the No Frills store only to see maybe ten customers in the whole store and very few people in the other stores. It’s private property so if you park and walk to another business not part of the plaza and get towed I have no sympathy.

  • Tamie

    As a regular shopper at No Frills who understand exactly why there is an parking issue this is the right option. This grocery store is a staple in the downtown core especially to our Burlington seniors they should not have to walk from another lot to do their shopping because people who want to sit on a patio having drinks or shop down Brant Street and chose to park at this lot so they don’T have to pay for parking. The business owners in this Plaza are entitled to have parking for their businesses it is what they pay rent for. The lady in the article was the exception to the rule not the norm if she was in fact I’ll but for the record No Frills does have a bathroom. No further away than the restaurant. This is not a new practice in Burlington back in the late 80s or early 90s the Tim Hortons Plaza at Brant and Old Plains had the same problem due to NRG night club customrrs and those cars were towed immediately as well.


    PLATINUM COMMENTER…how about your real name?

  • Mike Batista

    Well they where hired to do a job ….. so they are doing there job…… if it says it’s a 50 zone u don’t go over 50 right ? Or u get charged. U park where it clearly says don’t park U get a ticket or towed It’s real simple There rates are actually a lot cheaper then phills Towing and West Towing In oakville that also have parking lots that owners are sick of people parking and leaving there cars there as they don’t use there store or service. Real simple don’t park where your not aloud to and your car won’t get towed


    There is a difference between a “retail tow” in which if you actually phoned they’re lines they would advise a price of $65. That being said this is a penalized “enforcment” tow to learn a lesson and gain consciousness to read parking signs here and anywhere you park your vehicle. The last company (I won’t name names but they know who they are charged a hefty amount also substantially priced higher compared to their retail rates. I’ve done my research and the difference between the 2 tow companies is $55 higher from the last.

  • Ken baker

    Why is nobody commenting on the exsive amount they are charging if you call classic to tow a front whell drive car to the dealership there compound is in its 60 dollars why is it 300 if they tow fron no frills lot seems like there ripping people off to me

  • Roger

    Its pretty simple – this is a downtown mall – downtown has bad parking – Burlington Mall and Mapleview does not also other malls and grocery stores do not – simple – do not do down town


    I love how people whine and cry about parking on a lot that is PRIVATELY OWNED. WHETHER IT’S POSSESSED as 1 driveway spot at your home or 200 spots on a commercial lot; it’s owner still has full control of who parks there. Open your eyes people and stop being so selfish, lazy and cheap. It’s common sense; park in designated areas and have a conscious when and where you park. Most are too cheap to pay for parking as other simply don’t want to walk. Respect a property owners request and park and shop within as you will…all other errands, business matters and personal activities can be utilized through a municipal spot. The city is looking revenue in their lots that help pay for the city to move around. Buses, city workers, landscaping, etc. To make the city beautiful. Grow up people. Park in designated areas and this problem won’t occur. I understand a quick beer down the road or a Starbucks is a must but unfortunately for you complainers that’s having issues. Pay the extra couple dollars to park and enjoy your beer or meal with no worries of your beloved vehicle getting towed.

  • Scott brown

    The problem is people park there with no intention of shopping there. The parking is for the plaza customers, not for people to go down the street.

    How would you like it if you go to a place to shop and there is no parking there because other people have parked there and our down at the lake walking. There is 2 puplic parking lots by city hall that are free to park at.

    It’s pretty so.ple really. If you are shopping at the plaza, you will not be tower, but if you leave and go down the street to go forma walk or eat somewhere else, you will be towed.

  • Eric Wilson

    Clearly the owner of the property is having issues with people taking advantage of his parking lot so he had to do something so his customers had somewhere to park. If you had a store in this plaza and your customer tells you that he was there yesterday but left to go shopping at another store because he couldn’t find a parking spot as a renter you would be upset that you lost a sale. People are customers of this plaza and use it for there free parking to go to other stores downtown how is that fare for the plaza. People car pool from this lot, park and go to work leaving there car for 8 plus hours. Everyone has a sad story after there car gets towed but get the end of the day the tow company and security company are just doing a job so that the customers and the stores in the plaza have somewhere to go tomorrow. If you park in a downtown area always read the signs. P.S there is a green P parking attached to this lot.


    Those who are all wound up about whether the truck is marked or unmarked are missing the point. Why are Burlingtonians constantly penalized. Everyone knows that parking is a big issue. Either the owners of the parking lot charge for parking or leave people alone. We live in a democratic country…if a person can’t cross the street to use the washroom because he/she is not feeling well without having to be concerned to return to a towed vehicle. This is a no win for both consumers and business owners.

    • Hans

      And what happens if the tow truck operator makes a mistake and steals a car whose driver was not using the lot “illegally”? There appears to be no oversight to deal with that.

  • Marie

    Why would the woman leave to go to a restaurant when there are several stores, including a Tim Hortons, all of which have restrooms right there in that plaza? Or perhaps her “being taken ill” may not be exactly what happened, but it makes a good basis for outrage.

  • The readers who challenged us on the comment that tow truck was unmarked. They are right. The lettering is well below the door on the driver’s side but the name and phone number are there – not all that easy to see – but let us not quibble – we said it was unmarked when it was marked. Our mistake – apologies to our readers.

  • Lonely Taxpayer

    I have endured this once before in Toronto.

    The tow trucker can lift your car in “about 60 seconds” and once on their hook – it’s “theirs”.

    The tow truck operator in their haste is under NO obligation to take care not to dent or scratch your car.

    Once the car is in the “pound” it will be damaged by other tow trucks.

    This happened to me in Toronto when my car was towed and dumped in a fenced-in dirt field. The sides were all scraped and bumpers and tail pipe had been dragged.

    That’s why the tow truck operators do not put their names on their rigs.

    Look for more of this neighbourliness as Burlington Grows Bold.

  • Chelsie

    The message is clear they actually do not have higher rates than other private properties.myself being on this position before the only think I would advice read sings specially on private property.

  • Eric Wilson

    Also sorry to the lady that felt ill but why would you go to the restaurant that is like 5 stores over when there are stores in the plaza with rest rooms such as Tim Hortons.

  • Eric Wilson

    How is the tow truck unmarked when you can see the name on it. The sign says don’t park here if you are not shopping there so what’s the problem.

  • Steve

    No more Frills for me

  • Stephen White

    There is insufficient parking downtown, and having to pay is a hassle. It is human nature to expect people will try to get something for nothing. I’m not saying it is right, but it is a reality. This mall in particular is a nightmare in which to park. I go to Pet Planet to buy dog food and it is always a hassle getting in and out.

    As for Terri, it is indeed unfortunate. She has extenuating circumstances, and if the tow truck operator had any smarts, heart or compassion they would refund her the $300.

    The dynamic playing out here is ridiculous. Store owners need patrons to survive. The mall owner takes a sledge hammer to solve a problem that could more properly be addressed through posters or flyers. The tow truck operator drives patrons away who elect to shop somewhere else rather than being harassed by an overly zealous enforcement of parking by-laws. The businesses eventually go bankrupt.

  • Ali Wilson

    First I am confused by your comments about an “unmarked tow truck” I can very clearly see it is a Classic Tow truck in the picture..the name is on the truck.

    Second..I dont understand how anyone considers this any different than parking in someones driveway at a house. This is private property, the lot is there for patrons of the stores. Why people think it is ok to park there for free to go elsewhere in downtown is beyond me. There are public parking lots and meter spots all over the downtown area. Seems simple..people dont want to pay to park so they park on private property.

  • Maggie

    I was planning to shop at No Frills today. I don’t drive so these parking rules don’t affect me personally but it doesn’t change the fact I consider them ridiculously harsh and asinine. I am reconsidering shopping at this plaza because of such nonsense.

  • Hans

    The malls will be happy to get the business from customers who feel unwelcome and at risk of ridiculous fees at this plaza and store owners may want to reconsider renewing their leases. Eventually there will be no businesses on this plaza and it will be re-developed for condo towers. Maybe that is the owner’s objective?

  • Eric wilson

    It seems to me that the owner of this property clearly has a issue with people taking advantage of his space and parking there while being in the downtown area. What is he suppose to do when there is no where for the customers that shop in the plaza to park. There are over 30 signs in this parking lot that state that you can’t park there unless you are shopping there. P.S I see the name on the tow truck in your picture when I zoom in so why would you say a in marked truck?

  • James

    All the more reason to spend my commercial dollars outside of the downtown core. There are plenty of other (and better) places to shop. They’re hardly the only game in town.

  • Yvonne

    “Bylaw as amended is used so that owners need not change their signs should city bylaws be amended. Signs in plaza clearly on display and drivers choose to park here at there own risk. Clearly one of the reasons I refuse to shop downtown due to being tired of playing circling game of finding on street or lot parking then paying for only being here on average 20 to 30 minutes

  • Phillip

    While the lot owner has the legal right to pursue remedies, turning it over to an aggressive tow operator is “overkill”. I suppose the message is clearly don’t visit this lot and I won’t! No more business here.