CBRM officials cracking down on illegal parking in fire lanes

Cars are parked at the front entrance of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, N.S. Drivers who park in fire lanes can now face tickets of between $136 and $436. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Cars are parked at the front entrance of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, N.S. Drivers who park in fire lanes can now face tickets of between $136 and $436. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

Officials are cracking down on vehicles illegally parked in fire lanes across Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Police say they issued 60 tickets for the infraction around the municipality between October and December, following an awareness campaign involving the fire department.

This week, Nova Scotia Health said security staff at Cape Breton Regional Hospital will be doing the same.

Craig Thiel, the health authority's manager of occupational health and safety for the eastern zone, said there is construction going on at the back of the hospital and CBRM fire services has been asked to respond to the front when responding to an alarm.

"So, it's essential that we keep that fire lane — especially at the front of the building — clear," Thiel said.

The province issued a news release on Friday warning drivers about increased surveillance and enforcement at the hospital after the fire marshal received a complaint from the public about vehicles being left in the fire lane, he said.

Hospital security personnel have been designated as special constables in CBRM for years and have always had the ability to issue tickets, said Thiel.

However, they often speak to drivers first and ask them to move along.

"Sometimes while they're talking to one vehicle, another vehicle may park and come into the hospital with just a passenger or something like that and sometimes it becomes a little more extended than they anticipated and it can cause some congestion," he said.

Thiel said no one's health or safety has been jeopardized recently by illegal parking in the fire lane as far as he knows.

Patient drop-off and pickup can still be done under the canopy at the main entrance, but as soon as that's done, vehicles have to move quickly to the parking lot, he said.

The fine for a first offence is $136 and reaches more than $400 for a third ticket.

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