Free parking could soon be a thing of the past in several of Penticton’s busiest areas.
During a meeting on Tuesday, July 22, council heard the city could net upwards of $840,000 a year if it imposes paid parking in high-traffic areas such as downtown, Lakeshore Drive, the South Okanagan Event Centre and Skaha Park.
The initiative would see 58 parking metres installed across the locations, as well as new signage to mark the change. The project would initially cost the city around $390,500.
The move comes at a time when the city is facing a $3.9 million revenue shortfall and a similar deficiency expected for 2021.
“The COVID pandemic has highlighted underlying vulnerabilities to the city’s revenue streams,” Penticton’s Development services director Blake Laven told city council. “The city is challenged with making up this shortfall and staff are recommending looking at expanding the metered parking program as a means to secure a stable revenue source for 2021 and beyond.”
Council voted unanimously to move the proposal ahead.
“We’ve got to think like a big city and big cities don’t give free parking downtown,” said Coun. Julius Bloomfield.
“Here, we’re talking about a buck and a quarter and everybody’s going to raise heck for that extra 25 cents, but if they go elsewhere you’ll never hear them complain,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki, citing ocean-front municipal parking spots in White Rock, B.C. which he said cost between $4 and $8.
“I’ve always been a believer that there’s no such thing as free pavement.”
The city has launched a survey to gather feedback from residents. The results of that survey are planned to be shared with council on Sept. 1, 2020 and the changes would be incorporated into the 2021 budget if eventually approved by council.
You can share your opinion on the matter at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca.
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