Parking Exemption Granted for Diwali in Mississauga

To all our Hindu friends and neighbours in Mississauga, some good news is coming your way ahead of Diwali celebrations this weekend.

City of Mississauga Enforcement staff will not be enforcing the three-hour parking limit on Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30. That means the parking time has been extended for Diwali on those two days. However, cars must still be parked according to the traffic bylaw. This comes on top of the decision last week by council to grant an exemption to the fireworks bylaw for Diwali, as well as Chinese New Year celebrations.

You might recall that council approved a similar exemption to the parking bylaw during the Muslim holiday of Eid. The original exemptions for the parking bylaw were for all statutory holidays, including New Year’s, Christmas and Easter (a primarily Christian holiday). This opened the door to the Eid exemption, and now the Diwali exemption.

Although this exemption seems innocuous, some people would prefer the exemption only apply to certain areas in the city (perhaps more public spaces and not residential neighbourhoods).

Ward 9 Councillor Pat Saito, the same councillor who opposed the Eid parking exemption, put forward the dissenting opinion. In council yesterday, thinking it is rather excessive to apply this exemption citywide, Saito reminded her council colleagues that Mississauga has a program in place where residents can phone in and get an exemption that applies only to their streets.

To be fair, that would be logical if there were only one or two Hindu or Sikh families in one area in need of extra street parking for a party, but if many families request this exemption at the same time, will that bother other neighbours who might complain to the city in turn?

Most people, when they think of celebrations like Eid or Diwali, think that people would naturally congregate in certain areas for their unique celebrations and, in the case of Diwali, a clear open space in which to launch some colourful fireworks.

But what if they just want a nice dinner at home with a few friends and family members? Those people, like every other person who lives in or comes to visit Mississauga, will need ample parking space for their guests and an appropriate amount of time for them to stay without worrying about when to move their cars before they get ticketed or towed.

While parking issues are contentious, there are no doubt many Hindu families living in Meadowvale and Port Credit who might want to celebrate at home. To make this city feel like one community, we have to make concessions for all manner of major and significant celebrations.

And think about it - if the exemption is applied all across the city, how much will it really bother you?

Happy Diwali Mississauga!

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