Parking fee hike drives concerns
Some Vernon politicians are starting to doubt a recent decision to hike parking fees downtown.
Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe says she has been contacted by people who work downtown since rates were increased, particularly in city parking lots.
“Staff is paid minimum wage and they have a 100 per cent increase in parking,” she said.
For city-owned parking lots, the user fee will increase from $35 a month and $21.40 per month (in some cases) to $60 a month, with hourly and day rates increasing where the lot allows this use.
O’Keefe suggests that an employee parking pass be created.
“We need to address the concerns of low-end wage earners,” she said.
City staff say the cost of a monthly parking pass is less expensive than a daily pass.
“The cost of a monthly transit pass is cheaper than a parking pass,” said Amanda Watson, a transportation technician.
Parking meter rates recently climbed from 50 cents to $1 an hour and residents have also expressed concerns about that situation.
Council has decided to make parking at the Bennett lot on 29th Avenue free on Saturdays as a way of encouraging residents to shop downtown.
Council has also instructed staff to consider possibly increasing public awareness about free parking at Civic Arena.
“We need to make sure people know where there is parking,” said O’Keefe.
The city is also considering a baseline inventory of available downtown parking, as well as possibly hiring Venture Training clients as attendants to manage safety concerns at the parkade.
“With the fire at the recycling plant, it’s important to work with Venture to find employment opportunities for their people,” said O’Keefe.