Entire street of cars towed away in the night but residents still have no clue why

·4 min read
Entire street of cars towed away in the night but residents still have no clue why
Entire street of cars towed away in the night but residents still have no clue why

UPDATE (Nov. 16 at 10 a.m.): The Calgary Parking Authority initially told CBC Calgary it would look into data and records to provide an accurate review of the situation, but didn't respond to requests for an interview. It later emailed CBC to say it would refund all residents who had vehicles towed away and called the impact on vehicle owners "regrettable."

Residents on a northeast Calgary street say they're struggling to find out why their cars were mysteriously towed away in the middle of the night.

People living at Cornerstone Manor say they've parked along 128th Avenue N.E. for three years with no problems.

There aren't any "no parking" signs there and they say there were no warnings or violation tickets issued.

Two weeks ago, a private towing company removed around 15 vehicles, returning to tow away more vehicles the following night, according to residents.

"In the middle of the night, they towed the entire street with no tickets or warnings given," said Alysha Armanious Bulmer.

Bulmer says staff at the impound lot wouldn't tell them the name of the private towing company responsible and couldn't offer any explanation as to why their vehicles were taken.

Vehicle owners had to pay $260 each to collect their cars from the lot. They say it's a big financial hit to take during COVID and tough economic times for no apparent reason. Some residents also had vehicles damaged during a major summer hailstorm.

Bulmer said it cost $600 to retrieve two vehicles, including the expense of travelling to the impound lot.

"If you consider the other challenges we've had in this community recently, that's an incredible amount of money," said Bulmer.

After turning to the Calgary Parking Authority for answers, residents say it looks like they could have been mistakenly targeted after a mix-up in addresses.

In an email response to the complainants, a Calgary Parking Authority employee confirmed there was parking enforcement planned in the area, but it was at a different address, two kilometres away, in the 4600 block of 128 Avenue N.E.

Bulmer says that still doesn't explain why vehicles on their street were towed. She says the parking authority hasn't been much help when it comes to getting clear answers.

Dan McGarvey/CBC
Dan McGarvey/CBC

Alysha Bulmer's husband, Bryan Bulmer, says he's worried some residents might just pay the impound fee and not ask questions.

"They wasted our time and money all because of a mistake someone made," he said.

"It's either the tow trucks that came or the person downtown that decided this was the place. A lot of the people in my community are either too scared or working too hard and don't have time to make complaints or are worried they'll get in more trouble if they try to fight it. They're going to pay the fee," said Bulmer.

He says people are now confused and don't know whether to continue parking outside for fear of being towed again.

The residents have been in contact with Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal to try to get some answers.

"We're here to listen to the concerns of our residents and these residents have gone through a lot over the last number of months," said Chahal.

"They're dealing with the stress of the hailstorm and dealing with insurance companies, and now their cars get towed without any reasonable explanation," Chahal said.

"It's not just dollars and cents, but it's stress and time spent trying to find a solution and rectifying this," said Chahal.

Chahal says he's unaware of any bylaw in place to suggest towing the cars at the location was required.

"I'm not very pleased with the action the Calgary Parking Authority took in this matter," Chahal said.

Chahal says he's busy trying to help the residents find a resolution.

The parking authority initially told CBC News it would look into data and records to provide an accurate review of the situation, but didn't respond to requests for an interview.

However, it later emailed CBC to say it would refund all residents who had vehicles towed away.

An emailed statement reads: "Upon further review of this action, it was determined that other factors could have been taken into consideration. The impact to vehicle owners and inconvenience to residents is regrettable."

The statement continues, "In consideration, the CPA will be refunding the towing costs for all affected vehicles and is committing to work together with The City of Calgary Roads division to address community traffic concerns, parking needs and to ensure the safety of residents."

As of Monday morning, some vehicle owners said they still hadn't heard that update from the parking authority.