East-end residents say government employees claiming street side spots
Published Friday, January 13, 2017 6:23PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 13, 2017 6:37PM EST
Employees working out of the billion dollar headquarters for Canada’s spy agencies have spooked their east end neighbours for an unexpected reason.
Streets near the high security facility are frequently clogged with staffers’ parked cars, creating what many residents are calling a nightmare situation.
Daniel Arkaifie lives on Leigh Crescent and said traffic there has only gotten worse since the headquarters opened around 2012-2013.
“The government workers, they tend to shuffle every now and then,” he said. “They come out every three hours or so and try to move their cars. It makes it really hard to find parking around here.”
The Program Manager of Parking Enforcement with Bylaw Services told CTV Ottawa the parking problem is not a new phenomenon in the east-end neighbourhood.
“Certainly we have seen a marked increase in parking and complaints once CSIS did go into that location,” said Troy Leeson, the Program Manager of Parking Enforcement with Bylaw.
Last year, bylaw issued more than 1,300 tickets on six area streets, down from just over 1,500 in 2015. Each of those tickets were worth anywhere from $40 to $60, resulting in an estimated $150,000 in fines.
Parking on most streets in the neighbourhood is limited to three hours, but residents said the cars are there for the entire work day. Finding a spot in the area has become so difficult that residents said employees have started going door-to-door in search of driveway spaces to rent.
Dave Spurvey took two employees up on their offer. He calls the deal a “win-win.”
“They asked and I’m not here. Nobody is here during the day. It keeps them off the street and avoids them getting fines,” he said.
Spurvey is not alone. Many residents around the facility have resorted to renting their driveways as a way to make a little extra cash.
Communications Security Establishment Canada said it has “limited parking on-site” but encourages employees to find alternate forms of transportation.
“To commute by public transit, by carpool, cycling or other sustainable methods. For example, employees can take advantage of our own internal ride sharing tool that connects employees offering and seeking rides to work.”
Councillor Tim Tierney said he has been hearing complaints from residents for several years and is fed up.
“They did it in the cheap. They didn’t correctly estimate how many employees they had and they are now paying the price in this community, on the streets.”
Tierney said the parking problem is made worse in the winter when cars parked on both sides combined with snow bank narrow the streets. He said there is now concern the streets are not accessible to emergency vehicles.
"It's now created a major safety issue," Tierney said. "The local fire chief is saying you have to do something about this and now we are going to have to make parts of the streets no parking. This doesn't benefit the constituents in any way at all."
To help raise awareness, Tierney was out in the neighborhood handing out flyers to residents. He said it’s up to the federal government, and the new, yet-to-be-determined MP for Ottawa-Vanier, to convince CSEC and CSIS to add additional parking.