City park­ing me­ter is­sue be­ing dealt with

Medicine Hat News - - FRONT PAGE - GIL­LIAN SLADE [email protected]­hat­news.com Twit­ter: MHNGil­lianSlade

Hat­ters us­ing city park­ing me­ters may find their loonies be­ing gob­bled up with­out buy­ing any park­ing time.

A city spokesper­son says the is­sue stems from the Cana­dian Mint re­cently chang­ing the size of loonies and toonies, and city park­ing me­ters don’t rec­og­nize the new size.

The Cana­dian Mint how­ever, de­nied to the News that such a change in size was made.

Me­lanie Keeler, en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­o­gist at mu­nic­i­pal works, said she’s not sure when the change took place.

“The 2018 coins have been changed. They are not a whole bunch dif­fer­ent. They’re just slightly dif­fer­ent, the di­men­sion is just slightly dif­fer­ent, so that it is not reg­is­ter­ing when it goes into the chute of the mech­a­nism,” said Keeler.

Keeler says it ap­pears the Cana­dian Mint has not told man­u­fac­tur­ers of me­ter and vend­ing ma­chines of the is­sue, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion she has re­ceived from the me­ter man­u­fac­turer.

The man­u­fac­turer of the me­ters is nev­er­the­less work­ing on new soft­ware for the mech­a­nism of the ma­chine, said Keeler.

“We are work­ing with them to get it in­stalled on our me­ters,” she said.

A park­ing me­ter on the street near Medicine Hat Re­gional Hos­pi­tal re­vealed the sit­u­a­tion for a Hat­ter last week. It ac­cepted quar­ters with­out a prob­lem but dis­re­garded the loonie with­out eject­ing the coin. The per­son con­tacted the city to com­plain.

The park­ing me­ters spec­ify they will ac­cept “valid coins.” What con­sti­tutes a valid coin is not spec­i­fied on the me­ter. Keeler says the me­ters ac­cept toonies, loonies, quar­ters and dimes.

The city has re­ceived only a few calls of com­plaint in the past year, said Keeler. She said it is there­fore dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine how of­ten this has hap­pened and how much money has been col­lected with­out reg­is­ter­ing time on the me­ter.

“I would have hoped they (the man­u­fac­turer) had told me sooner but un­for­tu­nately we just found out so we are work­ing with them on try­ing to get things fixed on this end,” said Keeler.

In the mean­time the me­ters still pose an is­sue and the city is not sure yet how it will make a park­ing me­ter user aware that some loonies will be gob­bled up with­out credit.

The idea of post­ing signs on all the me­ters is still be­ing dis­cussed as the city tries to de­ter­mine the best op­tion, said Keeler.

“I’m go­ing to be talk­ing with my su­per­vi­sor and fig­ur­ing out how we should ad­dress this ei­ther like a pub­lic ad­vi­sory or putting signs on the me­ters,” she said.

The time­line to ad­dress the is­sue is “hope­fully sooner than later,” said Keeler.


Cer­tain city park­ing me­ters have been re­port­edly ac­cept­ing loonies but not giv­ing credit for them. The city says the me­ter man­u­fac­turer is work­ing on soft­ware to ad­dress the is­sue.

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