Paid parking is once again being enforced in Vernon as of July 2, 2020. (Black Press files)

Free downtown parking ends in Vernon

Meanwhile, the city continues to replace broken meters with high-strength versions

A months-long period of free downtown parking has officially come to an end in Vernon, and with it comes the arrival of more theft-proof parking meters.

City bylaw officers stopped enforcing parking zones in April as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May city council extended free parking until Canada Day to provide relief to businesses and patrons while the global health crisis evolved.

With B.C. hitting Phase 3 of its reopening plan, there’s a return to the usual demand for parking spaces downtown, and on-street metered parking and two-hour parking zones are again being enforced by bylaw as of July 2.

The suspension of parking fees coincided with widespread meter repairs, as the city dealt with a total of 350 parking meters that had been damaged by vandals.

Over the past two weeks bylaw officers have been working to replace the clocks and casings on all on-street parking meters with high-strength ductile iron versions, according to communications manager Christy Poirier. The replacement project has not yet been fully completed, but a number of meters have been installed.

On April 27, council approved up to $137,000 in Infrastructure Reserve funds to replace the parking meters that had been damaged by vandals. An additional $88,000 was approved to replace all parking meter clock housings and dome caps with the high-strength versions.

Council noted that Kelowna and Penticton have also experienced damage to parking meters, and have had a significant reduction in damage since upgrading to the stronger casings.

When parking at a broken meter, there’s no need to pay for your spot. However, time limits is still in effect. That means in order to avoid the possibility of a parking ticket, parking spots must be vacated according to the posted time limit.

For more information on City of Vernon parking, head to the city’s website.

READ MORE: 350 parking meters broken in downtown Vernon

READ MORE: Two parking meter vandals arrested in Vernon

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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