Business association lobbies for free Saturday parking in Vernon | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Business association lobbies for free Saturday parking in Vernon

October 24, 2020 - 3:29 PM

In a bid to help local businesses, the Downtown Vernon Association is asking the City to make downtown parking free on Saturdays throughout 2021.

Vernon council is set to discuss the option at its Oct. 26 meeting. 

In a letter to council, the association recognizes the benefits of the two-hour metered parking system but says many of its members would benefit from having free parking on Saturdays.

According to the letter dated Oct. 16, the Downtown Vernon Association says the pandemic has shifted the organization's marketing strategy away from large public events to "sustained activity-based promotions" and "ambient entertainment" to allow downtown Vernon to be physically "distant yet socially connected."

Ordinarily, downtown Vernon has nine free parking days per year when certain events take place.

"The City of Vernon's support is crucial to the recovery efforts to downtown business owners," reads the letter.

Curbside parking in downtown Vernon is currently $1 per hour and has a maximum stay of two hours on Saturdays. Three downtown City-run parking lots currently offer free parking on Saturdays.

In a separate letter to council, the Downtown Business Association requests $20,000 in financial support to put on free live music in City parks in 2021, in a safe, pandemic friendly manner.

The Association says the funds would be used to restore the stage in Cenotaph Park and purchase portable and secure daytime seating areas, along with other costs involved with putting on performances.

"We strongly believe that Downtown Vernon public spaces, including our parks in the summer, can be welcoming and entertaining environments within the guidelines," reads the letter. "Our event objectives for 2021 is to accommodate physical distancing and encourage social connection in Downtown Vernon."

The civic sounds concert series that normally takes place at Civic Plaza was cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

Vernon council is scheduled to discuss the funding request at its Oct. 26 meeting.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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