After requests from struggling downtown businesses, the City of Kelowna is nixing costs for on-street parking until the end of May.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the city has seen street parking usage dip to what staff estimate to be around 30 to 40 per cent of the usual rate.
However, the city did not lift parking restrictions at Kelowna General Hospital.
While on-street parking in the hospital area has dropped, according to the city’s parking manager Dave Duncan, it’s nowhere near the situation seen in the business districts.
“If the area around the hospital is left unrestricted, it quickly becomes full of vehicles parking for long-term,” he said. “That forces shorter-term parkers, patients or visitors, further away and into the residential areas.”
Even though parking may be free downtown, time restrictions will remain in place.
“We feel this reaches a good balance of supporting area businesses during this time by encouraging short visits, and for the transition of restaurants to a take-out operating format.”
Residents with monthly parking passes who are self-isolating or working from home can request a one-month deferral of their permit fee.
As residential permits begin to expire while city hall remains closed, bylaw will honour those permits.