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.