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Towing Turmoil: Cape Breton tow truck operators protest proposed bylaw

Sydney, Nova Scotia — Horns and shouts could be heard in Sydney, Nova Scotia on Tuesday night- but it wasn’t a parade or a celebration, it was over a dozen tow truck operators – and they weren’t picking up cars.

Tow truck operators were protesting the proposed by-law they say would make them pay more to operate in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM).

The operators, honking their horns in unity, say that this bylaw would include an annual fee, driver accreditation and a flat rate that could cost the consumer more.

Stephen Jamael, the owner of Jamael’s Towing in Sydney says tow truck operators already pay these fees to the Nova Scotia Government.

“Doing quick math, if you have 10 tow trucks, the new cost per truck is the better part of a thousand dollars, so if you have 10 trucks that’s 10 thousand dollars before you even turn your wheel,” says Frank Campbell, a tow truck operator.

Christina Lamey, the communications officer for the municipality says the by-law is to put more consistency into the cost of towing, seizure and impounding of vehicles, particularly after traffic accidents.

Tow truck operators feel they should have been consulted before these changes were proposed. They say comparing the CBRM to the way bigger cities operate and regulate towing companies is unfair to the small companies operating on the island.

“What is going to happen is all of the small tow companies, most of them are going to end up going bankrupt over this,” says Kim Withrow, a tow truck operator.

This new bylaw was on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, but has since changed. There is no clear doubt for when it will appear before council.

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