Parkades will keep their fees for now. (Black Press Media file photo)

Parkades will keep their fees for now. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria fears people would take advantage of free parking, votes to keep fees in place

Councillors send motion back to staff for review

Victoria city councillors voted to not implement free parking at downtown parkades for the time being.

Couns. Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Marianne Alto had put forward a motion for discussion at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting proposing all of Victoria’s parkades have fees waived for the month of April to assist essential services workers.

“I’m hearing there’s already difficulty for individuals with the stress of working at essential services during this time. Those who rely on public transit have said they want to take their car to have better social distancing,” Thornton-Joe said. “We are hearing from many groups that this is a concern to them, and that any changes in parking at least for this month, and then it will be reviewed, would be much appreciated.”

Alto echoed Thornton-Joe’s thoughts, saying that “one of the pieces of authorization” council has for limiting costs is parking.

ALSO READ: Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

On average the downtown parkades bring in approximately $500,000 in revenue every month, but since COVID-19 came into play revenue has dropped to average between $100-$125,000 per month.

This brought up great concern for some councillors, including Coun. Ben Isitt, who argued that if people are coming downtown and using parkades it is because they are still employed.

“My concern is providing relief to someone who doesn’t need it,” he said, proposing that some sort of measurement of financial means or self-declaration process be put in place for people who would need assistance paying for parking. “Maybe someone could hand out a pass?… Presumably that would safeguard a lot of municipal revenue and still provide a mechanism for someone who has experienced hardship – or wants to lie and say they’ve experienced hardship – to access free parking.”

ALSO READ: Victoria parkades ditch attendants in effort to reduce COVID-19 exposure

Coun. Geoff Young joked that parkade staff could only give out free parking to people whose cars were worth less than $5,000.

“The fact is that if we wanted to design a way of giving away $125,000 to the people who least need it as opposed to the people who most need it, we would give it to the people who have a vehicle who have a need to come downtown … and who use the vehicle to come downtown because they don’t want to use the free buses,” Young said.

Thornton-Joe added that while she certainly doesn’t want to invite people to come downtown if they don’t need to, the motion is designed to help people who might be facing reduced hours and increased transportation costs.

Council voted seven-to-one, with Thornton-Joe opposing, to send the issue back to staff for review for later consideration.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

City of VictoriaCoronavirusparking

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Goldstream Food Bank president Gayle Ireland is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Community Volunteer of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Two-week stint at Goldstream Food Bank turns into 35 years of volunteer service

Goldstream Food Bank’s Gayle Ireland is the 2021 Community Volunteer of the Year

Council has recommended that the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) approve a cannabis retail application by Buds Cannabis. It plans to open the store in the 9700-block of Second Street. It would be the business’ second outlet (it has an outlet in Central Saanich) and the second such business in Sidney. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney recommends approval of licence for second pot shop

Councillors also push back against public concerns about Sidney’s image

From right: Brad Cameron, BCEHS superintendent of patient care delivery for Greater Victoria, with primary care paramedics Em Funk, Tyrone Trotter, Fiona Galvin and Peter Hill at the Leigh Road station. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore paramedics didn’t waver when faced with COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Emergency Health Services personnel are this year’s Courage and Bravery Award recipients

February is Black History Month. (Photo: Government of Canada)
Camosun College highlighting Black content with research guide during Black History Month

The collection includes a range of works by Black authors and creators

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives to view the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Death threats mount against Dr. Bonnie Henry, sparking condemnation from Horgan, Dix

Henry has become a staple on televisions in homes across British Columbia since January 2020

Most Read