$30 bill for 'Free Parking'
Jul 10, 2012 / 2:27 pm
What was once free will now cost Kelowna residents $30 a year.
That's the price residents will have to pay, starting in October, for the privilege to park in front of their homes in areas where time restrictions apply.
At the present time, residents around specific neighbourhoods within the city get free parking permits allowing them on-street parking in front of their homes.
These areas include:
- Kelowna General Hospital
- Prospera Place
- KSS/Okanagan College
- East of downtown up to Gordon Drive
- Landmark areas
Kelowna Council was presented with the idea during budget deliberations in January, but deferred the request, asking for more information before deciding whether or not to support the concept.
While bylaws are in place making it mandatory for residents to have on-site parking available, Property Management Manager, Ron Forbes, says there are situations where property owners or renters have too many vehicles and need to use on-street parking.
Residents in these specific areas have had the opportunity to obtain free passes from the city for up to two vehicles plus two more visitor permits.
Forbes says the city currently issues 636 free permits a year, however, by adding a fee, he expects that number to go down.
He added monies collected through the permit program will stay within the department to improve enforcement.
The $30 charge was passed by an 8-1 margin Monday with Councillor Colin Basran casting the lone dissenting vote.
"I really don't see how anything will change by charging for the pass. I don't think there are a whole lot of people out there that are really abusing this," says Basran.
"I really don't see, if homeowners spend the $30, what the benefit will be. I'd like to keep the status quo because I don't think there will be enough money generated to have a huge impact."
While he voted in favour of the fee, councillor Robert Hobson stated he was a bit uncomfortable with the notion that city streets could be 'bought and privatized.'
"The streets may happen to be in front of people's properties but they are public streets," says Hobson.
"In the downtown area in particular, where we have considerable demand for parking, we need all that street parking."
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