By: Tanya Edwards

Starting November 22 and running until December 6, the town’s Toys for Tickets campaign will give residents another way to pay their overnight parking tickets. 

Participation requires buying a new toy, presenting yourself with the parking ticket, and said toy with receipt to the Georgina Municipal Law Enforcement Division at the Civic Center during business hours. Toys collected will be passed on to local charities.

Introduced in the early 2000s, the Toys for Tickets campaign became popular in many Ontario communities, but Georgina initially opted out over ten years ago — now it’s on board, offering to take the sting out of a holiday parking ticket. 

While provincial participation in the campaign is low, averaging 3 to 5 per cent, Georgina hopes to turn some of the $6000 they collect in parking fines over the two-weeks into Christmas cheer. 

But meanwhile, behind the glitter of the revamped campaign, a protest has been building as frustrated residents sign an online petition demanding change to the blanket no parking bylaw.

Keswick resident Chantel Townsend has set up an online petition at change.org asking the town and Mayor Quirk to end the 3-hour parking limit and make much-needed changes to the no overnight parking bylaws. 

The petition can be found online at change.org: End 3 hour limit & no overnight parking Georgina bylaws.

To date, the petition has reached almost 700 signatures. It argues that the parking bylaws are interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of properties and have a negative impact on day-to-day living. 

Ms. Townsend wants council to reform the bylaws so they’re more in line with today’s realities: multi-vehicle families, required work vehicles, overnight guests, gatherings and celebrations. 

Her petition offers some sound suggestions to facilitate changes to the current parking bylaws, giving more rights and freedoms while promoting responsible choices, like no-drinking and driving for guests. 

Ms. Townsend submitted the petition to Mayor Quirk for consideration at 500 signatures; she was informed the petition would be forwarded to appropriate staff members. But so far there hasn’t been any response. 

She encourages residents to reach out to the town by either signing the petition or contacting the town by phone or email to express their concerns for change.

When asked for her thoughts on the Toys for Tickets campaign, she agreed that a toy for a ticket is nice, but no tickets and a toy drive would be better

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