Short of putting a Walmart greeter in the parking lot - there isn't much more the Brant Street plaza property owner can do.

News 100 blackBy Staff

May 14th, 2018



As a visitor to Burlington from the UK Derek Newton parked his rented car in the No Frills parking lot.

Tow signs in No Frills

The signs are not small

Newton complains that “ with no knowledge of local parking issues we walked on to Burlington water side with the intention of doing some shopping on the way back.

“Was Disgusted to find our car gone on our return and even more so when we found out it cost us $300 dollars to get our car back.

“As a visitor how would we have knowledge of the parking issues your having in Burlington and some better signage would be appreciated as it’s ruined our holiday and certainly will not be returning to Burlington or praising its beauty to anyone.

Thanks for ruining what was a lovely holiday so far but going home with a sour taste !

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19 comments to Short of putting a Walmart greeter in the parking lot – there isn’t much more the Brant Street plaza property owner can do.

  • Lain Coulas

    It’s predatory towing at its best! They do this in my apartment complex as well. I’m not a lawyer but from my research, in order for the tow company to recoup the costs a by-law officer must issue an offence prior to them towing otherwise they have no right to hold your vehicle until tow costs are paid. From what I have read Classic is towing basically as soon as they observe driver walk off-site at that location so I suspect that no bylaw offence is actually issued.

    Pro-tip: leave a 20lb propane tank in the back seat and mention after they tow you and give you the bill that you would like to inform the OHSA & TSB about the tow company for incorrect transportation of hazardous goods ($50k fine first conviction).

  • Brian Paulson

    In the past, Part of my job involved overseeing of several parking lot for private properties. Back when I did this, the CIty of Burlington had two systems in place for tagging, blanket and delegated.

    With blanket, the City’s by-law officers could enter at any time and ticket any unauthorized vehicles. Authorized vehicles typically identified by a permit, or something of that nature. I can tell you as the person who set this up, I received a ticket myself when I drove my wife’s car and did not realize the permit was in the glove compartment. My own fault, I had to pay the fine!

    With delegated, the own provides the City with a list of people delegated to contact the by-law office and arrange to meet with the officer to point out the vehicles to tag. This method is used where parking is available for use by customers, patients, employees and the like. It is a pain because the delegate has to wait for the officer to show up, taking there time from other work. We used to put a notice on the vehicle, noting its license number. Second time got a second warning. Third time, tagged. Never got to a fourth, however that would have been to tow.

    For either method, proper signage had to be displayed in certain locations, primarily the entrances, before the City would agree.

    “No Frills” is Private Property and from what I have read and seen, they have signage up. As I recall, they also went through a phase where they had security on site to deal with “unauthorized” parking. Not sure if they just warned people who parked and attempted to leave, or if they contacted the City to tag. Obviously the owner had to pay for the security. My guess would be that that cost was passed on to the businesses in the plaza, and ultimately to the customers.

    It would seem that the tow company now has been delegated the authority to observe the vehicles and owners, towing those who do not comply. My guess is that this at no cost to the plaza owner.

    Although I feel for those that have been towed and do not 100% agree with the towing method, it would appear that the owner has resolved to their final measure for this situation.

    Bottom line if that it is Private Property and there is public parking right next door. What would you do if someone just parked in your driveway just because it was open and “free”?

  • jUDY

    I hardly know what to say. Losing your car and having to pay $300.00 to retrieve it, seems like someone is making a lot of money over this. I like No Frills, but will not park there again,even though I know it is not them that do this. Seems so unfair–where is our humanity?

  • Perry Bowker

    This is on a par with the Georgia speed traps, where the speed limit drops to 30mph for 20 yards and the sheriff gets the unwary for a fine. This whole operation is a disgrace ro Burlington. Who Owns this property anyway? Maybe he or she could be caught littering somewhere and fined $300 to make a point. There us no way you will convince anyone that having tow trucks and spies lurking to haul cars away is anything but highway robbery. Local merchants should be up in arms, because they are wearing the this.

  • Andrew

    This plaza is private property, a private parking ticket is hardly enforceable, and who are you going to pay to issue these tickets which won’t be getting paid? The City won’t be coming on the property to issue tickets, it’s not their battle.

    If the lot is full of cars from people wandering down to the waterfront then how are the customers who want to shop in the plaza going to park? Everyone feels sorry for the people who parked wrongfully and feel the owner of the property is the bad guy, but he has posted many, many clear signs and has to watch out for his clients, the tenants in his plaza. The gentleman from the UK knows English, he should have read the signs and then parked in paid parking where he is welcome, I always do when visiting anywhere. He cheaped out and paid the price. Too bad it ruined his holiday but it is his fault, not the land owners.

    As someone on another site wrote – if this was an apartment building would you park in their guest parking? – if this was a police station would you park in their guest parking? You get the idea.

    I’ll keep shopping at No Frills, banking at CIBC, and frequenting Dollarama. I just won’t wander off the property while leaving my car behind.

  • Sharon

    Downtown is so inviting and friendly, isn’t it!

  • Donna Zaffino

    I find it difficult to understand why the Brant Plaza owner cannot implement ticketing prior to towing.
    Many businesses and multi unit private properties enforce parking violations via ticketing and possible towing.

    The TD branch on Brant issues tickets to non customers and can request towing. The branch manager issues the tickets.
    Many residential multi unit building, rental and ownership, have the ability to issue tickets and request towing.

    The Baxter building downtown is an example of paid visitor parking with the abi,ity to ticket offenders.
    A few years ago when we were shopping for our first condo apartment we were issued a $78 ticket for returning 5 minutes past our allotted paid for time.

    Unfortunely, our arrival coincided with the machine’s upcoming rate change from daytime rates to evening rates. It would not allow us to purchase the amount of time we felt we needed to view the apartment. We paid for what it would allow which was 5 minutes shorter than we needed.

    If residential and other retail properties have the authority to arrange to monitor and enforce their parking lots then why cannot Brant Plaza’s owner areange for this as well?

  • Allan

    Parking has become purely a money grabbing opportunity whether it’s the City or private. I live near by and rarely see the parking lot full. By all means patrol it on Saturday or on special events but otherwise it seems draconian.

    • Phillip

      Allan, I fully agree. I go to that No Frills on Friday evenings around 7 pm and the lot is rarely more than 1/2 full. Last Friday was no exception and there was a Classic tow truck hooking up to a vehicle. The intent by Classic and the property owner is $$$$$. How do I know this? For Classic to tow, they have to see the vehicle owner park and leave–instead of issuing a first-time notice or warning them as they leave, they don’t. They wait and tow!!!!

  • Lynn Crosby

    Actually yesterday I saw a handwritten note stuck on a pole outside the plaza at Lakeshore and Bronte which says WARNING and is telling people that if they cross the street from that plaza (it is under some construction and has a Sobey’s in it) and go across the street to a shop there, their car will be gone when they return and it costs $300 to get it back. It’s a big sign, that some resident wrote to warn people off. So I guess this situation isn’t completely unique to our plaza.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Stephen I agree with your point about “unauthorized vehicles”. A person, especially a visitor but even a local, might think that if they are shopping in the plaza they are authorized, and wouldn’t know that they can’t step off the property and go down the street after they shop at the plaza without being towed. “Parking provided to customers remaining on site only” would perhaps be more clear.

  • SteveW

    I feel sorry for the visitor. There is ample signage in my opinion though. I don’t shop there anymore because of this practice. There is no reason to shop at No Frills with Walmart up the road. I’ve also changed by bank branch. Tickets should be issued first before cars are towed. Repeat offenders then should be towed.

  • Hans

    Tagged and/or towed doesn’t seem like the typical practice – maybe the word “tagged” should be deleted from that sign.
    And “City of Burlington By-law as amended” is also pretty vague. Which by-law is that? The one that allows cars to be held hostage by tow truck operators?

  • Joseph Gaetan

    Place to start is with a review of the City of Burlington By law on such lots. Questions are (a) Is there a by law? (2) Did lot owner follow the requirement under the by-law as to signage?

  • Pria

    Not sure if giving a ticket is an option, but if it is, that would be a much more reasonable approach.

  • Glenda

    I shop No Frills once or twice a week, perhaps it’s because I shop the mall stores that I have not paid attention to the signage. If asked I could not say where those signs are, tomorrow when I shop I will make a point to look and pay attention to location of these signs.

  • MrBean

    Ya break the rules, get caught, pay.

  • Eve St Clair

    Park on someone’s private property ,admit to leaving that property and walking downtown only to find your car towed. How many signs does a driver need to pass in this lit before they get the hint. Slow news day

  • Stephen White

    OK….I get the idea of towing a vehicle if it is blocking a fire route or poses a significant obstruction if parked in a laneway with the potential to cause an accident. But seriously: why can’t they just grant a limited amount of time for visitors to park for free in the lot, and then ticket the offending vehicles without towing if they stay longer than an hour? Even metered parking would be less obtrusive and objectionable than this current practice. At least the City would be deriving parking revenue from metered parking.

    This recurring issue reflects badly on the community, the mall owner, retail establishments in this mall, and does not encourage or promote downtown retail shopping.

    By the way…what constitutes an “unauthorized vehicle”? If Mr. Newton isn’t from Canada, and doesn’t know the local municipal by-law, then he may not know what that means. Maybe the sign should be changed to read “Parking provided free to mall patrons. Any offenders will be fined or towed”. At least that would be clearer and less ambiguous.