A downtown Penticton merchant has started a petition against the city’s new, extended downtown parking program.
David Mullner of Maison Mulnati Chocolate Shop at 221 Main Street launched the petition “Free Parking Downtown Penticton” three days ago on change.org, advocating for a return to free parking in the downtown area.
Mullner says once-busy downtown streets are now deserted by pedestrians who “no longer bother to walk around the city since they can no longer park for free.”
The petition has garnered more than 500 signatures so far.
“I think it's a big issue because people have to pay $2 to park, for something as simple as zipping into a shop for a cup of coffee. You don’t come because you have to pay as much to park as for the price of your coffee,” he says.
People who have responded to the petition have told him when they found out they had to pay for parking, they got back in their car and drove away.
Mullner says he also noticed a drop off in downtown participation following the Saturday Farmer’s Market.
“People know they are going to visit the market for an hour or so, so they come down and pay the $2 for that, but they don’t stick around like they used to. There’s no one after 2 p.m. It’s difficult after COVID-19, it’s tough to conduct business downtown,” he says.
He says the petition is not being done to create a fight. Mullner says he approached city hall and was told they did not have any feedback on the issue.
He says he hopes the petition will spur the city to look for a solution, whatever that might be.
“I hope they will find a solution - I don’t know what that would be. I’m sure they will find something, because we’re here to conduct business. We have to sell things,” he says.
The city embarked on an expansion of its metered parking program after agreeing to raise the rate from $1.25 to $2 an hour last September.
The expanded parking program brought metered parking to Main, Front and Ellis Streets in April of this year.
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