Downtown Vernon parking is being preserved, but it comes with a price.
After years of parking along the railway tracks on 29th Street for free, residents require a monthly pass of $35 as of today.
“We won’t start ticketing people right away,” said Brett Bandy, the city’s real estate manager.
The 125 parking spaces impacted are next to Bertelsen Plumbing and west of the rail tracks and north of Little Tex’s parking.
The land is owned by the railway company and other private interests, but the city decided to get involved because there was a concern parking would disappear.
“It’s an important issue for downtown,” said Bandy. “The railway approached us and said if we don’t lease it or a businesses doesn’t lease it, they’ll shut it down.”
The city has an agreement with one property owner to oversee parking and it is negotiating with the rail company.
Revenue from parking fees will go towards the lease for the property as well as site maintenance.
That area is extremely popular among people looking to park for the day, including staff at city hall, the fire department and the RCMP.
Bandy admits charging for parking there may force some motorists into other neighbourhoods.
But he says there are still options for residents not wanting to pay for parking.
“There are spots available for free like Civic Arena.”
Bandy says the Downtown Vernon Association and nearby businesses, including Powerhouse Theatre, have been notified of the parking fees.