Ainslee Sessions and Erin Sullivan camp out in front of Vernon City Hall Monday morning in order to get parking passes. (Submitted Photo)

Okanagan businesses camp out for parking passes

Lined up as early as 4 a.m. Monday morning in front of City Hall

More than 20 Vernon residents were lined up, and bundled up in the freezing cold, Monday morning for parking passes.

That’s right, not concert tickets or Vernon Winter Carnival tickets, these people were lined up at City Hall to purchase annual and monthly spots for their vehicles for next year.

First in line was staff from Sanders Medical, prepared with chairs and blankets and hunkered down before the sun was even up.

“We actually got there at 4, and there was already someone else there by 4:15,” said Erin Sullivan, who purchased 10 passes, at $750 a piece, for her staff and herself.

Having a business in downtown Vernon has its benefits, but parking is not one of them, according to Sullivan.

“It is definitely a problem,” she said, noting that there were at least 20-25 people lined up by 8 a.m. before City Hall started selling the passes at 8:30 a.m.

“My husband used to work downtown too and it was an issue.

“There was another lady in line who said she has a parking pass from her employer in the parkade and she was buying another pass because she doesn’t feel safe parking in the parkade,” said Sullivan, who didn’t blame her. “There’s people having sex in there, people shooting up there.”

Customers also “always” complain about a lack of parking.

And with plans to develop the dirt CSB lot by the Elks Lodge, the situation is only going to get worse in the high-demand area.

“There’s going to be even less,” said Sullivan.

Meanwhile the usual City of Vernon response that she’s heard is they are working on it.

The city defends that there are still plenty of passes available and other shorter timeframe spots.

“Although the monthly passes for two of the parking lots sold very quickly this morning, there are still spaces available in the area,” said Christy Poirier, Vernon’s communications and grants manager. “We recognize the other lots may be located further from a destination than desired and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“It’s important to note that the parking passes that were purchased this morning do not take into account daily and weekly parking spaces that will still be available in 2020.”

But the city does recognize that there are parking limitations and is working to develop and promote alternative transportation opportunities with several community partners, including the use of bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and public transit.

There are six surface parking lots downtown and monthly passes for two lots (29th Street lot and transit hub lot) were sold out Monday for 2020. The other four lots (31st Avenue, Railway, 27A, and 33rd Avenue) and the parkade still have spaces available.

This was the first time that yearly passes were available.

Last year, Sullivan and her staff didn’t get there as early and another person bought a bunch of the spots in the lot near her business. She wasn’t going to settle again for parking in the dirt CSB lot and “not to complain,” but walking in high heels through the mud.

“That’s not happening again this year,” she said in her reason for showing up so early.

But it wasn’t so bad, with some friendly neighbours helping to keep the crowd toasty.

“The RCMP and came over and asked us what we were doing and came back with Tim Horton’s coffee for everyone,” said Sullivan.

READ MORE: Dog stolen in Vernon to be reunited with owner


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Old Christmas card has ties to Summerland agriculture

Card was sent by former director of Summerland Research Station

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

Award-winning musical coming to the South Okanagan

The hit musical Chicago is coming to Penticton for two shows next March

Penticton resident allegedly has rear car tires stolen

The resident woke up today to find their back tires missing and their car on blocks

Funding sought for family of 15-year-old Summerland girl with cancer

Treatment will involve two weeks in hospital, followed by eight to 10 weeks recovery at home

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

RCMP officer volunteers as designated driver

Princeton’s two largest employers ensure safe rides for Christmas parties

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

In Photos: CP Rail Holiday Train lights up the Shuswap

The stop on the train’s Canada-wide journey came with a $5,500 donation to local food bank.

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Kelowna RCMP officer suspended after allegedly sexting assault victim

RCMP confirm investigation but hold back details

Legendary primatologist coming to Okanagan

Dame Jane Goodall, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, will present in Vernon Tuesday, March 24

Frosty will have to pay rent to stay on Okanagan sidewalk next Christmas

Vernon Teach and Learn allowed to keep Frosty up, but will need a permit come January 1

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Most Read