Proposed London towing bylaw grinds to a halt at city hall

A proposed bylaw that aimed to place increased regulations on tow truck drivers in London has been delayed temporarily.

The bylaw was front and centre during a public participation meeting at city hall on Tuesday that invited Londoners to share their feedback.

The meeting was hosted by the community and protective services committee, whose members voted unanimously to delay making a decision on endorsing the bylaw in order to allow city staff to conduct more research.

READ MORE: City committee seeks Londoners’ feedback on proposed tow truck bylaw

The bylaw seeks to license tow truck drivers and prohibit them from parking, standing or stopping within 200 metres of any crash in London. Only tow trucks authorized by London police and requested by those involved in the crash would be allowed on-scene.

Tuesday’s meeting heard an array of opinions from those in the local towing industry, with Canadian Towing Association executive director Doug Nelson expressing support for the bylaw.

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Others, such as Fadi Ibrahim of Low Price Towing, worried that the bylaw could have unintended consequences.

“I believe, by you guys doing this… you guys [are] favouring one tow truck company against another,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim’s fears of favouritism stem from a contract in place between London police and Ross Towing, along with a portion of the proposed bylaw that states that “only tow truck operators authorized by the London Police Service and those requested by motor vehicle operator involved in an accident would be permitted to attend accidents.”

Towing bill of rights pledged, signed

Towing bill of rights pledged, signed

When the public participation meeting had ended, Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire raised concerns over what he saw as an incomplete bylaw.

Squire’s qualms centred on the rule that prohibited tow truck drivers from being within 200 metres of any crash without authorization.

“What about the poor person who’s in an accident and there’s no police or no firetruck or anything there?” Squire said. “Why shouldn’t the first tow truck that arrives be able to go to the scene and help that person?”

Squire’s call for more work on the bylaw was bolstered by Ward 1 Coun. Michael van Holst, who put forward a motion to defer the matter back to city staff in hopes of gathering more research.

“I know that sometimes our council asks for things that aren’t recommended by staff,” van Holst said. “Sometimes a problem seems bigger than it is because of a few people emailing us.”

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READ MORE: Hundreds of tow truck drivers pay their respects to driver killed on the job in Ontario

Members of the community and protective services committee voted unanimously in support of van Holst’s motion, meaning the matter will be brought back to city staff before the bylaw is proposed again.

The delay means a longer wait for a nearly year-long push for increased towing regulations that began in early 2019.

Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis, who first brought the idea to city hall, expressed a desire to see the matter brought back by the second quarter of 2020 to prevent further delay.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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