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Trenton boutique given ticketing authority

Brandy Calvert-Ringlemann, 45, says she has been harassed on several occasions for enforcing her customer-only parking policy. Photo by Max Reid, QNet News

By Max Reid [1]

TRENTON – They’ve yelled, screamed, ranted and raved and swore over her parking spaces. Now a Trenton business owner is taking matters into her own hands.

Brandy Calvert-Ringlemann, 45, owner of Off the Hook Boutique and Gallery in Trenton, has been in in her store at 35 Ontario St. almost a year now.

She says she is struggling to get customers shopping inside when they can’t find somewhere to park outside.

“The parking issue was immediate,” says Calvert-Ringlemann whose store is located next to a Service Ontario building that has only three parking spots to itself. That causes an overflow of cars to spill into her spaces during busier times.

On Monday Quinte West city council passed a motion that would give Calvert-Ringlemann and her staff the ability to be trained and the authority to issue parking tickets for parking violations.

In a phone interview, city clerk Kevin Heath was able to confirm that businesses approved for this authority are trained and appointed in the same way as regular municipal by-law officers and that a number of other businesses and apartment buildings in Quinte West have been given the same authority.

The Service Ontario location next door to Off the Hook has been uncooperative in trying to keep visitors to either building in their designated parking lot, according to Calvert-Ringlemann. Photo by Max Reid, QNet News

Though it’s been only ten months since the business moved to this location, this decision couldn’t come soon enough for Calvert-Ringlemann who spoke of her ongoing frustration with trying to reason with illegal parkers.

“In the beginning we were trying to invite those patrons into our establishment by leaving polite notes on their windshields that said, you know ‘We noticed you used our parking to run your errands. We’d like to invite you into our boutique’. It had zero impact at all.”

But when she started to notice the impact having no available parking was having on her business, Calvert-Ringlemann had to make her point clear. She did so in the form of a big yellow banner warning that violators will be towed and increased surveillance over the parking lot.

“I’ve had to actually increase the hours in which I employ my staff in response to having to monitor the parking lot…Saturdays are usually my day off. I now have to work Saturday mornings to enforce the parking.”

However, Calvert-Ringlemann seemed hopeful that this new authority granted to her by the city will be effective in dealing with her parking issue.

“I definitely want to inform people and my end goal here isn’t issuing tickets. That’s not my end goal. My end goal is to have my parking for my customers. Unfortunately that means I’m gonna have to write tickets to enforce that.”

At Monday’s council meeting, it was stressed that the revenue earned from the ticketing will not be going toward the store, but will be treated as city revenue like any other parking ticket.