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New “fandangled” technology coming to downtown

Council approved a project that will see the old parking meters downtown replaced with new pay kiosks later this year.

By Jennifer Stahn

Another couple hours of discussion was all it took for Kamloops city council to approve a five-year borrowing plan to replace the aging parking meters in the downtown core with new kiosks later this year.

Council voted to first separate the four items up for discussion – the addition of a capital project with financing over five or 10 years, asking administration to prepare amendments to support the pay-by-license-plate parking system and corresponding penalties, increase in parking rates and to create a fund that would hold the surplus revenue from the parking program to deal with long term parking solutions.

Most of the discussion came from whether the plan should be implemented immediately, saved for or phased in. Ultimately council decided to take action on the kiosks immediately, voting to bring in the new technology under a five-year debt servicing plan.

Originally recommendations only offered a long-term 10-year plan for the borrowing and several councillors were happy to see the five-year option brought forward, Coun. Tina Lange specifically felt the compromise addressed a lot of the concerns people had with the debt load. Coun. Pat Wallace was still uncomfortable with the cost, but was comforted when staff brought forward the option to do internal borrowing, which was a possibility only under the five-year plan.

Mayor Peter Milobar seemed somewhat impatient with the idea that all the suggestions that came forward had to be implemented.

“Unless everyone was in 100 per cent agreement, we can't take every suggestion and implement every single one of them,” he said.

He was also confused by the reluctance to bring in new technology.

“We're talking about this as if it's brand new technology and we're the first people that would be using it... it's not some new fandangled idea out there,” he said.

“What if we do this and it doesn't work? How do you reverse that kind of decision?” Coun. Marg Spina said against the financing of the project. She preferred to phase it in, wait six months and then reassess whether the project should be continued. Coun. Donovan Cavers was the only other council member to join Spina in voting against the $1.7-million project.

After a short break to deal with several other items on the agenda, council was back tackling the remaining parking items. After working out the wording on a couple of points and clarifying some of the terms, council also agreed to raise the rates, implement a parking solutions fund and change the wording in the by-law to allow new parking infrastructure and fines.

The project will see the 850 downtown parking meters replaced with 90 pay stations later this year. Parking rates and fines will also double at that time, with parking set to cost $1 per hour and fines to increase to $10.

To contact the reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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