Impound fees adding up for Victoria resident
Town to seek legal advice to remove vehicle from its property
It has been a year since Ed Cole had his pickup truck towed away to the Town of Victoria work yard, behind the municipal building.
Town officials told The Compass — initially when the vehicle was removed and again on Jan. 16 of this year — Cole was advised on numerous occasions that his truck needed to be moved off the side of the residential street due to impeding traffic and snow removal operations. Officials explained both written and verbal notices were given between October 2012 and January 2013.
The Compass viewed a copy of a document Jan. 16 that was supposed to have been delivered to Cole by a town employee in October 2012.
The document read that Cole’s truck was a hazard for school buses and other vehicle traffic where it was parked. The letter stated for him to move his truck for the safety of drivers, and to avoid potential issues with snow clearing operations in the winter.
Cole did not remove the vehicle and it was towed.
He insisted in a claim to the provincial court of Newfoundland and Labrador in January 2013 his vehicle was unlawfully removed from his property and was “concealed” by the town.
His 2006 Ford F-150 has been sitting in the public works yard near the town’s municipal building since it was towed there on Jan. 23, 2013.
Racking up a bill
The fee to pick up the truck at the time was less than $70, the price of the tow.
For more than nine months the vehicles at in the work yard, untouched, without being charged any additional fees. But that has changed.
Town manager Shelley Butt confirmed the town had begun charging impounding fees for the vehicle at $15 a day after a notice was sent to Cole in October, advising that the fees had to be paid and the vehicle had to be removed within 90 days.
That deadline passed on Jan. 4, at which point the fees were over $1,400. The vehicle is still accumulating impounding fees.
No charges from court
On June 10, 2013, Cole, his lawyer and a lawyer representing the town went to the courthouse in Harbour Grace to face claims that the town had fraudulently concealed his vehicle.
All charges were dismissed at that time by Judge Jacqueline Brazil.
But Cole still stands by his claim that his vehicle was illegally removed.
“My ( truck) was unlawfully removed from my property at 65 Main, Victoria by the town,” Cole wrote in an email to The Compass. “And is still in their unlawful possession, as I have refused to pay any unlawful fee or fine.”
The Compass has learned Cole has been in contact about the truck with the town regularly through email.
Cole also says he contacted the RCMP, but says the complaints were dismissed because of inaccurate and “false” information supplied by the town.
Butt denies that any wrongdoing took place on behalf of the town, and the removal of the vehicle was within the town’s rights.
Cole believes the next step is “to unlawfully dispose of the vehicle and unlawfully confiscate the proceeds.”
Butt denies that, saying the town has to revisit the advice of its lawyer to determine where to go next, but there is a possibility of the sale or auction of the vehicle. If the vehicle is sold, the fees billed to Cole by the town would be taken from the sale, and Cole would receive the remainder.
Butt said the issue should have a solution in the coming weeks, if all runs as scheduled. The council will discuss options at the next meeting Jan. 27.
Ed Cole’s pickup has been parked at the municipal yard in Victoria for nearly a year.