Park­ing rates, fines to rise Jan. 1


Park­ing down­town is about to cost a bit more.

Start­ing Jan. 1, a park­ing ticket for an ex­pired me­ter or for over­time park­ing at a pay-and-dis­play will cost $25 in­stead of the cur­rent $15. Fur­ther­more, park­ing for an hour will cost $1.25 in­stead of $1.

Terry Guiel, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Down­town Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Area, ob­jected to the in­crease in park­ing fees and fines, say­ing it will re­sult in “an­gry shop­pers.”

“The im­me­di­ate 25 per cent in­crease is harsh,” he said, adding that he also thinks it’s about time the city al­lows mo­torists to pay for park­ing with their smart­phones.

It’s not good enough to have only coin-op­er­ated me­ters, he said - and he added that an in­crease is go­ing to hurt down­town busi­nesses.

“The down­town is al­ready hit re­ally hard. We don’t need puni­tive mea­sures,” he said.

But coun­cil went ahead with its plan.

Coun. Don Vas­sil­iadis said coun­cil knows up­graded me­ters are needed – but it’s ex­pen­sive and the city needs to save up. Mean­while he thinks park­ing fees and fines are nec­es­sary.

“We need more park­ing spots – this will help us pay for it,” he said. “It’s been 12 years since we’ve raised our prices. If you think of it, it’s a quar­ter. Twenty-five cents ... it’s a rea­son­able re­quest.”

The in­creases are meant to help the city come up with the money to keep enough park­ing down­town. Coun­cil­lors heard from city staff last week that roughly 750 park­ing spa­ces will be lost to de­vel­op­ment, over the next decade.

A new ur­ban park will soon be built over the Louis St. park­ing lot, for ex­am­ple.

And coun­cil­lors have yet to de­cide whether they will give half the Brock St. park­ing lot to Atria De­vel­op­ment, which wants to use the space for tenant park­ing as it con­verts the for­mer YMCA into the high-end Y Lofts.

Adding an­other storey to the King St. park­ing garage is one idea staff would like to con­sider, but it’s pricey at $30 mil­lion.

That cost could bal­loon to $46 mil­lion if con­struc­tion is put off un­til 2027, states a new city staff re­port.

With just $1.4 mil­lion in the city re­serves meant for park­ing, coun­cil is look­ing for new ways to raise money: hence the pro­posed in­crease in park­ing fines and fees.

Coun. Keith Riel said he didn’t like the idea of in­creases: “It’s a detri­ment and a de­ter­ant to shop­ping down­town,” he said.

Coun. Dave Haacke said he wouldn’t sup­port the plan ei­ther – not un­til there’s a more com­plete plan for al­low­ing down­town build­ings to be re­de­vel­oped.

But Coun. Les­ley Par­nell also sup­ported the plan, say­ing the down­town gets special ser­vices; for ex­am­ple, the city picks up down­town snow and trans­ports it to a snow dump.

“That’s of ben­e­fit to the down­town,” she said.

She also said the city needs to save to build an­other storey on the park­ing garage: “We need to be very smart – we need to be putting money away.”

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