Paid parking could come back into effect by July 1, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic after City of Vernon councillors discussed the issue during the May 11, 2020, meeting. (Martha Wickett/Black Press file)

‘Free’ COVID-19 Vernon parking until Canada Day

Reinforcement of paid metered parking set to be reinstated with new meters, July 1

Downtown Vernon visitors can expect to pay for metered parking once again by Canada Day.

Council waived the enforcement of metered parking last month as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but on Monday, May 11, council decided July 1 would coincide with the meter repairs that are currently underway, while allowing for appropriate public notification.

The City of Vernon is losing approximately $102,000 in revenue a month, should non-enforcement of street metered parking continue. By the end of June, its estimated the city would lose a total of around $306,000 in revenue.

“Although the suspension of parking fees to provide relief to downtown businesses and patrons was well-intentioned, currently, on-street metered spaces and two-hour parking zones are primarily being used by business owners and employers to conveniently park all day rather than customers conducting business,” a report to council reads.

Mayor Victor Cumming said a June 1 date would be preferred in order to curb the misuse of metered parking spots downtown, Coun. Kari Gares agreed.

Bylaw noted the repairs to the more than 350 broken meters and the new, more secure, parts to retrofit the remaining 600 meters were still a few weeks out.

Gares noted it wouldn’t be wise to reinforce paid parking when meters were in disrepair and unable to collect payments and instead it’d be best to wait until all meters are repaired, which should be completed before Canada Day.

Council approved $225,000 during its April 24 meeting to replace and retrofit the 950 meters downtown with high-strength ductile iron dome caps and clock housings to deter vandalism.

Council voted in favour of the July 1, 2020, date to reinforce metered parking, but the issue may come back before council for reconsideration as councillors Scott Anderson and Brian Quiring voiced concerns about the unknown effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Paid parking not enforced in Vernon for 2 more weeks at least

READ MORE: Overdose prevention site selected for downtown Vernon


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