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operations.the.leveller has written 229 posts for The Leveller

Rover Parking: Will it launch in Ottawa?

By Caroline Rodriguez-Charette

Rover Parking, an app that helps users find and share empty parking spots — the AirBnB of parking — wants to launch in Ottawa. But they may not be able to offer their business here, in the face of the City of Ottawa’s current by-laws.

Founders Grant Brigden and Tim Wootton said they anticipate launching Rover Parking within the next month and a half at the latest. Their plan is to focus on areas in Ottawa that are near universities, hospitals and event stadiums. In order for that to happen, they will need a critical supply of parking spaces — and to convince the City of Ottawa.

The City of Ottawa’s current stance on Rover Parking may prevent them from launching. With the exception of commercials lots, the rental of parking spaces is prohibited in Ottawa.

“Renting parking spaces is considered a non-accessory [or supplemental] use and is forbidden under the Zoning By-law 2008-250,” said Roger Chapman, the Manager of By-law and Regulatory Services for the City of Ottawa.

Rover Parking started in Toronto in July 2015, and since then, Brigden and Wootton have been working with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). They have also been in contact with the municipal government parking lots because some are being shut down for condo developments and more supply is required.

“Cities and communities are running out of room, there’s no more ledge, you can’t just create more land obviously, so the common sense approach is to look to other areas where there’s parking availability and start to utilize that parking for the general public,” said Brigden.

Rover Parking allows a home-owner to rent out their driveway for a few hours while they are away at work, for example — essentially creating new temporary parking spaces where there were none before.

The City of Toronto is working proactively with Rover because they realize that, in spite of current by-laws, it provides a viable solution to their shortage of parking spaces.

Some parking providers in Ottawa believe they could benefit from Rover Parking, or do not feel like it would affect their parking businesses.

“We are currently sold out of parking and we have a large wait list, so an app like [Rover Parking] would definitely help our students,” said Brian Langer, Operations Supervisor of Parking, Lockers, Coin-Ops and Card Services at Algonquin College.

Christopher Moy, assistant director of the Department of University Safety at Carleton University said he does not see Rover Parking causing a major impact. Carleton’s relative isolation means that Rover users would still have to travel some distance from a Rover space to get to their destination. “Most people park at Carleton [itself] due to its proximity to their classes and offices, and because for them it is preferable to commuting,” said Moy.

In order to use Rover Parking, property owners are required to comply with all applicable laws. These include tax requirements, rules and regulations that may apply to parking spaces, zoning, rentals and property licenses – and again, the regulatory regime does not permit for Rover’s business model to operate in Ottawa.

However, Brigden and Wootton are taking a chance on Ottawa. They believe in  letting the people of each city decide for themselves if they want to use Rover Parking.

“The by-laws that are in place do not usually address new technologies such as Rover, so we are not waiting for these by-laws to be updated, but rather showing how new technology like this makes sense for a smarter, more efficient and less congested city,” said Brigden.

Only time will tell if Rover Parking will work or impact parking in Ottawa, said Langer.

This article first appeared in the Leveller Vol. 10, No. 3 (Nov/Dec 2017).

Keep Trump Out: An open letter to Justin Trudeau

By Rebecca Riley

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

Please do not allow U.S. President Donald Trump into Canada. 

The author meets Trudeau at his Ottawa book launch in 2014, a couple months after being diagnosed with PTSD. A year later she voted for him, “partly because of his feminist beliefs.” Photo: Adam Scotti

The author meets Trudeau at his Ottawa book launch in 2014, a couple months after being diagnosed with PTSD. A year later she voted for him, “partly because of his feminist beliefs.”
Photo: Adam Scotti

Although President Trump is not planning to travel to meet with you until next year, I have been concerned recently by Melania Trump visiting Toronto for the Invictus Games and Donald Trump Jr.’s travels in British Columbia this past summer.

If you allow President Trump into Canada then you will endanger marginalized groups. Allowing President Trump into Canada would threaten women, and indirectly jeopardize people of colour.

Although President Trump has not yet been convicted of sexual assault, we know he is a sexual predator based on his past behaviour. In the Billy Bush tape released in October of 2016 President Trump brags about sexually touching women without their consent. Two days after the video came out, President Trump tried to physically intimidate Hillary Clinton by stalking her around the stage during the second presidential debate.

Over sixteen women have publicly accused President Trump of sexual assault. According to an article from October of 2017 in The Guardian the White House’s official position is that all sixteen women who have accused President Trump of sexual assault are lying.

President Trump has also admitted on tape that when he owned the Miss America pageant he would deliberately enter the dressing rooms when contestants were changing. “I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it,” he told Howard Stern. “You know, they’re standing there with no clothes… you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.”

Former contestants and models have also stated that they were present when he entered the changing area, some of whom were underage at the time.

“Who do you complain to? He owns the pageant. So there’s no one to complain to – everyone there works for him,” Tasha Dixon, a former Miss America contestant, told CBS2 LA.

In the early 1990s his now ex-wife Ivana Trump accused him of rape. Special counsel for the Trump Organization Michael Cohen denied the charge, falsely claiming, “You cannot rape your spouse.”

Cohen also said to the Daily Beast that Ivana Trump meant that “she felt raped emotionally… She was not referring to it [as] a criminal matter, and not in its literal sense, though there’s many literal senses to the word.”

Ivana Trump has since echoed Cohen, saying that she did not accuse Trump in a “literal or criminal sense.” As part of her  divorce settlement, she is not allowed to talk about their marriage without his permission.

All this demonstrates that President Trump has a history of both known and alleged sexual assault and harassment that spans decades. As a woman with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I am concerned for the security of women – as well as my own safety – should President Trump travel to Ottawa.

President Trump’s presence would also cause safety concerns for people of colour because his politics attract white supremacists. Some of these supremacists have already turned violent, in both Canada and the U.S.

Earlier this year Alexandre Bissonnette, a supporter of Donald Trump, executed a terrorist attack that killed six men at a mosque in Quebec City.

David Duke and other members of the Klu Klux Klan have publicly supported President Trump, including at the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August where a driver intentionally drove into counter-protesters, killing anti-racist activist Heather Heyer.

Far-right groups across the world have been emboldened by the election of President Trump. Allowing President Trump to visit Canada would validate the beliefs of white supremacists in our own country, which could possibly result in violence.

I understand that as Prime Minister you have a responsibility to maintain and foster a relationship with the U.S. President, but I suggest that you meet with him in his own country. Please do not invite and welcome him into my home.

Recently at WE Day in New York City you said, “Being a feminist for me means recognizing men and women should be, can be, must be equal – and secondly that we still have an awful lot of work to do. We need to take back what it is to be a man and that means being open, compassionate, respectful and brave about standing up for it!”

While President Trump presents many challenges, you are also presented with an opportunity to demonstrate your feminist convictions.

I hope that you will be brave enough to take preventative measures in order to protect marginalized groups. I hope you will protect me.


Rebecca Riley

This article first appeared in the Leveller Vol. 10, No. 3 (Nov/Dec 2017).

Future Clippings: Knowledge caps for bio-education

By Adam Ashby Gibbard

The Canadian government has passed legislation imposing caps on university knowledge distributors, known colloquially as “Degree Vending Machines.” These caps are being enforced throughout the country in response to economic turmoil caused by the bioeducation industry over the past 10 years.

“Unfettered access to learning has caused major gaps in a labour market desperate for skilled individuals. Knowing a lot predisposes youth to entitlement and not usefulness,” said Peppa Doppler, Minister of Human and Machine Labour. “BrainTech and other companies are now being asked to comply with the government, but there will still be a need to strengthen the policing of knowledge black markets.”

The bill will cap knowledge distribution by pegging it to present and future labour needs, which is especially pressing for the farming and construction industries in the wake of increased climate change.

Greg Padapolis says that his five undergraduate and two graduate degrees have not helped him find a job. “I should have just gone to school for plumbing; at least then I could feed myself,” he said.

With such a well-educated population job requirements have never been so high. Fast food jobs now require at least a Masters of Divinity in Food Services, whereas programmers in the biomedical industry require at least two PhDs and a specialized certificate in Bioeducation, which can’t be bought at a knowledge distributor.

Some students, however, see this as an infringement on their right to access whatever learning they want. “I was just about to register for a brain infusion on the philosophy of social mediation, something I’ve been interested in for a long time,” said Bernard Polltip, a high school student from Ottawa. “Now I’m being told I should naturally learn to farm?!”

When asked to comment on the possible intrusion of peoples’ rights Peppa Doppler said “there’s nothing stopping student from picking up a book if they don’t like it. This is about more than their interests.”

This article first appeared in the Leveller Vol. 10, No. 3 (Nov/Dec 2017).

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