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HomeNewsNo parking fine increases incoming, but city to engage businesses on parking...

No parking fine increases incoming, but city to engage businesses on parking changes

The city will not go ahead with increasing parking fines. A proposed bylaw amendment, which would change parking fines from $25 to $50 failed to get through an economic standing policy committee on Feb. 15. 

After a lengthy discussion with members of the public, the committee recommended council direct administration to work with the Downtown Business Improvement Area and the Heart of our City Committee to engage with members on options for changes to paid parking. 

BACKGROUND: Council delays making decision on increased parking fines

Business owners attended the meeting to express concern on the proposed increase.

Sarah Amies, executive director of the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone, said many members of the BRZ have expressed concerns increased fines will detract from a positive downtown experience.

“Doubling the parking fines for unpaid tickets will do much to dissuade community and visitors alike to continue patronizing downtown businesses and services. So many people have already indicated that if the risk of an eventual $50 parking fine is introduced into to the downtown, people just simply will not come to the downtown,” she said.

Councillor Mark Campbell said the engagement will lead to collaboration between the city and downtown businesses.

“The 60 year discussion about parking just continues here, but it’s been great to see this discussion and to see these people who are business owners in the trenches that are right there,” Campbell said. “What I am really loving to see with the business owners is, first of all, how much you really want to be downtown. That really comes out, downtown is important and you want to invigorate it and we got issues, but you still want to be there — and you are here to give your concerned about the increase and the fines, but you also have suggestions.”

Some suggestions included free parking for two hours before fines are handed out and allowing people to pay for the amount of time they need, without waiting for the metre to expire.

“Why do we want to limit people to shop downtown? We don’t limit how long you can spend in Costco,” said Levi Cox, owner of Catwalk Salon and Spa. “I want my clients to get their hair done and then head over to Owl, have a drink and then pick up their ring over at Fosters. I want them to shop downtown, be downtown. That’s what we need to promote, not limiting their time downtown.”

Many of the speakers were concerned about situations where clients and workers at downtown businesses are put in a position which makes them vulnerable to a ticket unintentionally. This includes people getting services that take more than two hours, such as a salon or tattoo appointment. Speakers said often it is impossible to get to the metre the moment it expires and people are forced to risk getting a ticket.

Results of the engagement are set to come back to a committee meeting before the end of this year.

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