I have a favourite coffee shop, the Bean Scene, located in the east end of downtown Vernon. Near it are two great little bookstores I frequent.
The coffee costs me $2.10 for a medium if I bring my own mug. And 50 cents for the meter. But recently, I was six minutes late coming back to the meter and I got a $10 parking fine. So my cup of coffee cost me $12.60.
My question to Vernon city council is this. Why do you place the coffee shops in the downtown area at a gross disadvantage to those located with free parking?
Is this fair? I say no. I got a ticket late in December as well. And hey council, I am getting the message!
I have had friends fly out of the coffee shop saying, “Got to go before the meter reader catches me.”
I went to city hall and they tell me there are five full-time enforcement officers earning $33.75 per hour and three more part-time earning $28.35 per hour, plus one clerk and one manager. And more officers are hired in the summer.
They work seven days a week from 8 a.m. until midnight. My quick calculations come to more than $250,000 a year for bylaw enforcement salaries alone.
The merchants I talk to tell me they do not want people being fined $10 for being a few minutes late on their meters.
Is there anywhere we can park in the downtown where I do not have to watch my watch to avoid being punished for shopping downtown?
The old free parking located along the tracks across from Savoy has all been allocated to merchants.
Is there any safe place to park in the the downtown?
Will council at least reverse the parking fine increase back to $5?
Or should the merchants all move to a mall outside of downtown?
I await a reply from city council.