Drivers who absolutely refuse to pay parking fines should lose their licence, says city mayor Sutherland Madeiros.

It's just one of the ideas he plans to share with the Attorney General this week when he meets to discuss ways of getting drivers to pay up.

Right now reprobate drivers are costing the Corporation of Hamilton hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in lost revenue - and it's got to stop, Mr. Madeiros said.

In the meantime the Corporation, as reported earlier this year, is going to start clamping illegally parked cars. The clamps are expected to arrive on the island within the next few weeks.

Mr. Madeiros said: "People who have not put parking vouchers in their cars, or vouchers that have expired, these are the ones we'll be clamping."

The Corporation is still figuring out how much it is going to charge drivers to get their cars 'unclamped.'

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show more than 117,000 fines of $50 were issued in the city between 2004 and 2006. Almost half were unpaid, which adds up to more than $2m.

Mr. Madeiros said he will talk to the AG, Philip Perinchief, about "implementing procedures to pay fines" as well as exploring the possibility of preventing drivers with parking violations from renewing their licences. "In my opinion it would be a very simple thing to do," he said.

Non-payment, he added "erodes our income and we have to find other revenue to cover the shortfall." That could mean increasing taxes or increasing the cost of parking."

Bigger car parks

Hamilton will have to have to build a new multi-story car park within the next few years.

The Corporation of Hamilton is looking at three locations - City Hall, Elliott Street next to Gosling's, and Cavendish next to Island Trading. Mayor Sutherland Madeiros says on the surface, Cavendish makes the most sense, and it would stop some of the traffic coming into the city.

The plan comes after government announced it is looking at a number of measures to cut car use into the city while increasing the appeal of public transportation, possibly with the introduction of free rides.

But the Corporation believes that with the city growing - both residentially and from the business aspect - coupled with the loss of Par-la-Ville car park, which has been earmarked for the new Ritz Carlton hotel, it needs to ensure there is enough parking space.