To avoid a $500 fine and the hassle and frustration of retrieving their property, vehicle owners who park in west Port-of-Spain should avoid parking on street corners, near fire hydrants, in front of the entrances of private residences and on sidewalks.
This is the edict from Port-of-Spain Mayor Keron Valentine, which he announced during a press conference yesterday as he said the corporation would resume wrecking. The policy will be implemented on March 1.
West Port-of-Spain comprises the boundaries of Richmond Street in the East, Queen’s Park Savannah in the North, Wrightson Road in the South and Mucurapo Road in the West at the corner of Carlton Avenue and Jeffers Lane, St James
While there has been consistent wrecking in the city centre, this was carried out by the Police Service. The corporation ceased wrecking in the western part of the city, inclusive of areas such as popular Tragarete Road and Ariapita Avenue, in 2013. The cessation of wrecking was supported by Valentine at the time, who was then deputy mayor and chair of the city’s security committee.
It came after numerous complaints by citizens that wreckers were not following the appropriate guidelines of trying to locate vehicle owners and were carrying out their functions recklessly. Valentine described it as a “nuisance.”
Two years later, the council’s decision to resume wrecking has his full support, particularly as the council hopes to balance the rights of home owners with the business interests of the city. “The Port-of-Spain corporation has received numerous calls and complaints from residents and burgesses of the increase in indiscriminate parking and blocking of driveways and parking on sidewalks,” Valentine said yesterday.
“All in all we have listened attentively to the calls and the cries of our burgesses mainly and we have decided to reintroduce wrecking but under a new policy.” The new policy limits the hours wrecking will be in effect to business hours and focuses on key areas, mainly sidewalks, near fire hydrants, corners and entrances to residences and businesses.
Valentine said the previous implementation of wrecking under former mayor Louis Lee Sing had become a hustle for operators of wreckers. The financial arrangement between the corporation and wrecking companies split the earnings with $300 going to the wrecking company for each vehicle and the remaining $200 to the city corporation for administrative costs.
The city corporation is still in the process of purchasing two wreckers but has contracted two wrecking companies for now.“We have given a stern warning to wrecking operators that this is not just a matter of wrecking a car. We will be focused on burgesses who are inconvenienced. “The corporation spends a lot of money on rehabilitating sidewalks throughout the city annually and sometimes you go and see heavy vehicles, cement trucks parked on the sidewalk causing them to cave in.” The policy also requires wreckers to be outfitted with front and rear cameras so that police can closely monitor wrecking activity.
“It is going to be fair and above board,” said acting superintendent of the city police Erica Prieto. “This is not a profit situation. The police are here to support the decisions of council and by and large we are here to serve the community. “We are assuring burgesses they can call on us. People who feel trapped in their homes and feel inconvenienced because their driveways are blocked, they can call on the city police to assist at 290-3068.”
The days of wrecking in west Port-of-Spain will be as follows:
•Monday to Wednesday from 10 am to 6 pm
•Thursday from 10 am to midnight
•Friday 10am to 2 am
•Saturday 6 pm to 2 am
Vehicles removed from these areas will be stored at the corporation’s parking lot at the western end of Wrightson Road.
On Charlotte Street, wrecking hours will be the following:
•Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm.
Vehicles removed on Charlotte Street will be stored at the TTPS Traffic Branch on Abattoir Road, Port-of-Spain.
According to the Road Traffic Act Chapter 48:50 as amended by Act 5 of 2010, section 108 sub 1, all police officers have the authority to remove any motor vehicle found in contravention of the provisions made under the act or any other regulations made or order made.