LETTER: Taxpayers should have a say in Sidney parking

I write this in response to a letter written to the editor that was in June 7’s Peninsula News Review. It concerns the ongoing parking mess in this town and I feel that perhaps this gentleman may have read my letter from a week prior and I also know this is a topic that must be talked about, addressed properly by council and brought to light to those who perhaps aren’t affected so much by the parking issues. I understand that space in the newspaper is limited so some important pieces of my prior letter had to be edited out and I certainly have no issue with that.

When I first wrote to Town Council last year I brought up the issues of the cost of parking everywhere else except here in Sidney where it is still free. Many responses to my very realistic solutions were always denied because of cost, but I also gave reasonable and realistic facts that threw the excuse of cost out the window. People simply don’t mind paying a small amount to park if they know they are going to have a short stay and they also don’t mind paying a small daily fee if they know they are going to be long term. My points to council were many but the two most important factors were addressing what my research has proven time and time again when it concerns costs involved.

READ ALSO: Sidney’s new parking lot officially opens

Firstly, people are creatures of habit. They are not going to park at Mary Winspear and walk many blocks if they know they can park for free downtown, and more so they can park all day for free right in front of our homes just two blocks from Beacon Avenue. That also holds true for the two-hour zones. These people can drive 20 extra yards and park all day. That is precisely why residents from First to Seventh don’t understand why council keeps rejecting our continual requests for some spaces on our streets to be marked and devoted to Residential Only Parking.

READ ALSO: Confusing parking lot blamed for cars tipping into flowerbeds at Peninsula Canadian Tire

If indeed visitors are asked to pay $1 or so for parking on Beacon, some will drive the two blocks north where they can park free all day. That goes for those who come to Sidney to work. Since Mary Winspear opened, the parking mess on our street has not changed one bit. We residents still see every space taken up by people who come here to work or sight-see and know they can park here on our street for 24 hours. When the prior gentleman mentioned that he counted just 20 or so cars parked at Mary Winspear, he more than likely would have seen 40 or more cars parked on our street at the same time. The reason is because it’s closer for their walk to downtown and it’s 24-hour parking.

All along, my comments to council were that any costs to put up some meters and Residential Only parking signs on some streets would be offset tenfold by the parking tickets that would be produced and the cost of meter parking. It’s called revenue and that’s what this town needs.

Mary Winspear should charge $25 per month to workers who come here every day. You can’t park for three days in Victoria for that amount. People simply won’t mind. If they know they are going to get a higher cost parking ticket for parking in residential zones the problem is solved.

What is also solved is that disabled people like myself who don’t have in-house parking will at least have comfort knowing that residential only parking is available right in front of my building. That’s the way it should be and it should also be that people must learn that they have to pay a small fee for parking if they are here as guests in our town.

READ ALSO: 40,000 parking tickets cancelled last year in Victoria

It is time that council had a town hall meeting and the people who should get to speak are the taxpayers of this city who live close to downtown. Don’t give me three minutes to make my points either. I’m old and I just can’t speak that fast.

Robert G. Duquette

Sidney

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