Winnipeg mother calling on City to address signage after car towed from HSC Children’s Hospital

A Winnipeg mother is calling on-street parking in front of HSC Children's Hospital's emergency room predatory after her car was towed taking her child to the ER. Edward Djan has more.

A Winnipeg mother is calling on-street parking in front of HSC Children’s Hospital’s emergency room predatory after her car was towed taking her child to the ER.

“It was perfect because my daughter is young so I was able to carry her in because she was too sick to walk,” said Kristi Diawol.

At the advice of Health Links, Diawol took one of her sick children to HSC’s children’s ER at midnight back in mid-March. After leaving the ER she along with other parked vehicles were met with an empty street.

“The doctor let her go, we came out here and all of the cars originally there were gone. It’s now probably 3:30 in the morning, I had worked all day, I was tired my daughter had been sick now for two days. I went back into the hospital and said to one of the nurses ‘Were the cars towed?’ and she said ‘Probably, because it’s a snow route,” explained Diawol.

When arriving at the children’s ER at HSC, there is a parking spot available right in front of the entrance. The closest signage to that entrance shows you can park in the spot, but there’s no signage on that same pole showing it’s a winter route.

“In an emergency situation like this, the last thing that you are doing is paying extremely close attention. My job as a parent was to get my child to the emergency room, and of course to look around quickly, but I didn’t see anything.”

In fact, it’s only after the third sign away in the opposite direction of the children’s ER that you finally see signage telling motorists that side of the street is a winter route.

“This is predatory enforcement, if it’s not absolutely clear what you are in violation of, how can you be accused of breaking it,” said Todd Dube, the co-founder of Wise Up Winnipeg, a group that advocates on behalf of motorists who believe they’ve been unfairly ticketed.

Adding insult to injury, the day Diawol parked her vehicle, she says there was no snowfall.

“If there was snow on the road and you had to move my vehicle because you needed to make the road safe, that’s one thing, give me a ticket and tow me,” said Diawol. “In this situation where there was no snow, what they could have done is very simply just given a ticket to notify me that ‘Hey, by the way, this is a snow route maybe in the future you could be towed if there’s snow on the ground.’”

Winnipeg’s winter route parking ban was in effect from Jan. 16 to March 20 this year. The city told CityNews that during this period regardless of whether snow falls or not, cars can be towed.

According to Dube, Winnipeg is home to one of the most poorly signed streets in the country.

“We’ve had a lot of calls about being ticketed or towed in snow routes. Winnipeg is consistently deficient in signage all throughout the city. Rather than correct those areas, those are the areas where they target for enforcement. What other city would do that?” Dube said.

The city added in its statement that enforcement actions are driven by complaints, equipment operators and areas of the city where there is “habitual non-compliance.”

CityNews reached out to Tartan Towing but did not hear back.

While Diawol paid her ticket as well as her towing fee, she is hoping the city does a better job with signage and that others are able to learn from her story.

“It should be right there, right in front of the emergency so that the minute somebody pulls up or even parks down the road and hasn’t seen a snow route sign, sees this.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today