Monday, March 20, 2023

Hurricanes’ Board Chair urges city to reconsider decision on Enmax Centre paid parking

The Governor and Board Chair of the Lethbridge Hurricanes is firing back at Lethbridge City Council after the decision to approve paid parking at Enmax Centre.

In a lengthy statement released Tuesday, Doug Paisley says the city’s news release on the subject, which claims the team was well informed and was part of the negotiation process in regards to parking changes, is simply false.

“While our lease contains a provision for revenue sharing from any implementation of paid parking, the City has engaged in no such negotiations to date,” it reads.

BACKGROUND: City to charge for parking at Enmax Centre starting in September

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Council voted at its April 26 meeting to implement a per-vehicle charge starting in September, adjusting for the reduction of $57,120 annually, which comes from the Hurricanes’ waiver of revenue sharing in lieu of season ticket holders not being charged for parking at hockey games.

Coun. Rajko Dodic commented at the meeting that if the city does not have the ability to reduce operating costs, the move is necessary to prevent an increase in taxes to make up for costs.

Paisley says the move is not only a detriment to the game day experience of fans, but moving to a paid parking model would make Lethbridge an outlier across the Western Hockey League.

“Lethbridge will become the one of the only WHL franchises with paid parking across the league with the exception of the major NHL venues of Edmonton and Calgary.”

“Paid parking has been abandoned by other WHL facilities, including Red Deer and Medicine Hat because of the negative impacts on their revenues and operations.”

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He adds it’s the teams hope that council will reconsider the decision and commit to working with stakeholders, to find what he calls a mutually beneficial solution and appropriate business model based on industry practices.

Lethbridge College students will also have to pay to park at Enmax Centre after September 1. “Students already have to pay for parking on the LC campus (and at the University of Lethbridge). The fee structure will be similar to campus in providing a daily, weekly, monthly, and semester rates. These rates will be identified in the near future,” reads a news release from the city.

“Those students who can’t afford parking would have the opportunity to use Lethbridge Transit, which is a more affordable option.”

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