February 26, 2013 - 10:43 AM
By Charlotte Helston
A parking fee petition went undiscussed at a Vernon city council meeting Monday. The petition urged council to halt the planned increase, which would raise metered parking from 50 cents to $1 per hour and, according to the signatories, negatively affect downtown businesses. Council said the petition brought no new information to an informed decision that has already been made. The changes will be in effect starting today.
Coun. Julliette Cunningham, who is well known for looking out for businesses, says it wasn't an easy choice to make.
"It was a very difficult decision... I know in Kelowna, some of their fees are a bit lower," Cunningham says. But technology doesn't come cheap, and part of the higher cost will go toward the purchase of newer meters.
"We're bringing in new metres that will allow people to use credit cards... to justify those changes for the meters, the fee question was raised at the same time. I'm hoping that people will see in the long run that it's not that onerous a fee."
She says there's been some misunderstanding that the new metres will only take loonies. "But for someone just dashing in to get something, a quarter will still get you 15 minutes," she says.
Cunningham sees the new fee as just one piece of the transportation puzzle.
"We have pressures to provide parking for staff downtown, we need to intergrate these increase fees into a long term parking strategy. Hopefully all of those things put in place will help us to find some success," she says, adding the city is working on a transportation demand management plan to increase use of public transit and lessen the amount of cars driven downtown.
Bylaw enforcement manager Clint Kanester says the new rates will be rolled out over several weeks, progressing from the city centre outwards. On street metered parking violations will rise from $5 to $10. Off street city parking lot fees will climb from $35/ month to $60. Parkade parking will rise $10 on all levels.
Monthly parking passes for all city run lots will be availabe for sale starting Monday, March 4. Passes are given on a first come, first serve basis, and must be paid for in full at the time of purchase.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call (250)309-5230
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013