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

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

A property at 1224 Richardson St. in Victoria is the subject of a rezoning application that seeks permission to build three low-rise buildings with 24 units, including four that would rent for below market rate. (Google Streetview)
Victoria development in Fairfield features subsidized housing element

Public hearings this Thursday (Jan. 28) for proposals on Richardson Street and Heywood Avenue

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria’ Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

Victoria police will be making numerous arrests throughout the day Jan. 27 as part of its #VicPDWarrantWednesday project. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
UPDATED: Victoria police’s #WarrantWednesday makes 16 arrests and counting

VicPD says arrests part of warrant enforcement project

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read