Paid parking at the Enmax Centre will still begin in September after city council turned down a motion to rescind its previous direction. The motion was put forward by Coun. John Middleton-Hope, who said council has received numerous complaints from businesses and the public. His motion noted this highlights a lack of community consultation.
“I wouldn’t say that it went the way that I though it would. I thought that perhaps a couple of more council members would come on side. It basically was along the same lines that the first vote was,” Middleton-Hope said. “The concern as I have said from the very beginning is that we are just not capturing all of the costs. Things like what is it going to cost us to put kiosks in, what is it going to cost us to do parking control after six o’clock when regulatory services and parking control are not working?”
Council voted to implement a $5 charge for parking at a meeting in May. Lethbridge Hurricanes board chair Doug Paisley expressed concern about a lack of consultation after the decision.
Coun. Belinda Crowson questioned at the June 7 meeting whether the Hurricane had requested to present to a standing policy committee and city staff confirmed they had not.
“We were staying in our own lane. We were working operationally with the people we work with at the Enmax. There was dialogue back and forth, there was conversation — we were aware that it was coming, we obviously did our homework on the backside. WE were very caught by surprise when it was voted on and implemented and really we hadn’t had our chance to speak,” Paisley said. He added he was not aware of the process to get the issue to a committee meeting.
Paisley said when other similar venues implemented paid parking, they found patrons spent less money on thing such as concession and community organization events inside.
Rather than being charged at a parking kiosk, Coun. Ryan Parker said he would like to see a fee added to each ticket to help make up funds.
Coun. Jeff Carlson did not support the motion and said he believes Enmax users will understand the extra charge.
“It’s an easily avoided fee — ride your bike, catch a ride with a friend, walk, take the bus,” he said. He did not support the idea to add to the ticket price. “[You would be] still forced to pay, whether you use the parking lot or do not. Simple math says that if you grab your friends minivan and say I’ll pick up nine of you, it’s 55 cents each.”
The motion to rescind failed with a 5-4 vote. Councillors Middleton-Hope, Nick Paladino, Parker and Mayor Blaine Hyggen were in favour.