Kamloops city council will be asked to reinstate paid parking downtown

Free parking possibly ending

Kamloops city councillors will be asked to reinstate paid parking in the downtown core — in a phased approach — at next week's meeting.

According to the May 12 agenda, administration is recommending the transition in two phases. The first phase involves having paid parking for on-street parking only take effect after the May long weekend.

"This will allow employees of downtown businesses to move to a city surface lot or the Seymour and Lansdowne Street parkades," reads a city report. The document says bylaw officers will begin to issue fines for vehicles with expired parking in two-hour and three-hour parking zones.

The second phase kicks off July 2, after the Canada Day long weekend. Paid parking would be reinstated for city-owned surface lots and the Seymour and Lansdowne Street parkades. The report notes that if employees of downtown businesses continue to work restricted hours and can't pay for monthly parking, council could choose to extend the date for the implementation of Phase 2 to after the August long weekend.

The City of Kamloops suspended paid parking on March 20 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The motion to reinstate parking fees follows the news that some locals have been abusing the freebie, and parking downtown for long periods of time.

In an interview with Castanet earlier this week, Carl DeSantis, executive director of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association (KCBIA), said that has negatively impacted businesses that are still open and need the stalls for their customers.

"They legitimately can't find parking," DeSantis said May 6.

The KCBIA tried a number of things to educate people about not leaving their vehicle downtown for a full day. They installed temporary loading signs, to deter drivers, and put flyers on cars. Neither of those initiatives worked, he said. During that interview, DeSantis said he'd like to see paid parking restored along Victoria Street, at a minimum, to help with turnover.

Council will vote on the matter Tuesday.

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