VERNON - You won’t believe what Vernon bylaw officers find in the city’s parking meters.
Whether by accident, or in hopes of fooling the meter, the public has tried to pay for parking in some interesting ways over the past year.
Clint Kanester, the city’s manager of bylaw enforcement, let us look through the odd collection before its contents continue their journey.
There are coins from all over the world—rupees from India, pounds from England, pesos from Mexico, yuan from China. There are coins with holes in them, coins with scalloped edges, and coins that could almost masquerade as Canadian loonies and toonies. Some are quite heavy, others paper thin.
“You kind of wonder where did that come from and how did that get in here?” Kanester says. “It’s interesting to see where people have been and where our country comes from.”
In addition to the foreign money, there are a variety of washers, slugs, shopping cart tokens, and commemorative coins. There are girl guide medallions, a pair of charms engraved with the words Always With You, and several tokens that clearly state No cash value.
“There’s basically everything you could imagine,” Kanester says.
About once a year, bylaw looks at this cross section of coins and looks for patterns. If there are lots of one type, it could be a sign they work and someone knows it. That’s why bylaw tests out the contents and tweaks the meters as needed.
The city also makes around $15-$20 in “donated” Canadian nickels and dimes each week. Vernon meters don’t accept five and ten cent coins, something you’d know if you read the sticker on the machine. Still, either by accident or just to see what happens, people are tossing them in.
The City gives the foreign coins, which it has no use for, to local schools so students can get a look, and feel, for the currencies of other countries.
“There are all kinds of styles,” Kanester says. “They’re little pieces of art.”
Coins from around the world, as well as washers, slugs, and tokens, are found in the city's parking meters.
(CHARLOTTE HELSTON /InfoTel Multimedia)
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