Ainslee Sessions and Erin Sullivan camp out in front of Vernon City Hall Monday morning in order to get parking passes. (Submitted Photo)

Okanagan businesses camp out for parking passes

Lined up as early as 4 a.m. Monday morning in front of City Hall

More than 20 Vernon residents were lined up, and bundled up in the freezing cold, Monday morning for parking passes.

That’s right, not concert tickets or Vernon Winter Carnival tickets, these people were lined up at City Hall to purchase annual and monthly spots for their vehicles for next year.

First in line was staff from Sanders Medical, prepared with chairs and blankets and hunkered down before the sun was even up.

“We actually got there at 4, and there was already someone else there by 4:15,” said Erin Sullivan, who purchased 10 passes, at $750 a piece, for her staff and herself.

Having a business in downtown Vernon has its benefits, but parking is not one of them, according to Sullivan.

“It is definitely a problem,” she said, noting that there were at least 20-25 people lined up by 8 a.m. before City Hall started selling the passes at 8:30 a.m.

“My husband used to work downtown too and it was an issue.

“There was another lady in line who said she has a parking pass from her employer in the parkade and she was buying another pass because she doesn’t feel safe parking in the parkade,” said Sullivan, who didn’t blame her. “There’s people having sex in there, people shooting up there.”

Customers also “always” complain about a lack of parking.

And with plans to develop the dirt CSB lot by the Elks Lodge, the situation is only going to get worse in the high-demand area.

“There’s going to be even less,” said Sullivan.

Meanwhile the usual City of Vernon response that she’s heard is they are working on it.

The city defends that there are still plenty of passes available and other shorter timeframe spots.

“Although the monthly passes for two of the parking lots sold very quickly this morning, there are still spaces available in the area,” said Christy Poirier, Vernon’s communications and grants manager. “We recognize the other lots may be located further from a destination than desired and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“It’s important to note that the parking passes that were purchased this morning do not take into account daily and weekly parking spaces that will still be available in 2020.”

But the city does recognize that there are parking limitations and is working to develop and promote alternative transportation opportunities with several community partners, including the use of bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and public transit.

There are six surface parking lots downtown and monthly passes for two lots (29th Street lot and transit hub lot) were sold out Monday for 2020. The other four lots (31st Avenue, Railway, 27A, and 33rd Avenue) and the parkade still have spaces available.

This was the first time that yearly passes were available.

Last year, Sullivan and her staff didn’t get there as early and another person bought a bunch of the spots in the lot near her business. She wasn’t going to settle again for parking in the dirt CSB lot and “not to complain,” but walking in high heels through the mud.

“That’s not happening again this year,” she said in her reason for showing up so early.

But it wasn’t so bad, with some friendly neighbours helping to keep the crowd toasty.

“The RCMP and came over and asked us what we were doing and came back with Tim Horton’s coffee for everyone,” said Sullivan.

READ MORE: Dog stolen in Vernon to be reunited with owner


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

 

Just Posted

Historic Oliver Museum renovated to better serve community

The 96-year-old building previously faced challenges with heating, cooling and wood degradation

City of Penticton developing plan to improve access to child care

Parents, guardians, care providers asked to provide input

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

Mural adds artistic flair to downtown Keremeos

A new, privately commissioned mural has received praise from residents

Morning Start: High heels were first designed for men

Your morning start for Monday, Aug. 10, 2020

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

No new COVID-19 cases in Kelowna over the weekend

Kelowna has nine of the Interior Health region’s 13 active cases

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

West Kelowna woman upset with RCMP response to street brawl

A physical altercation between a group of teens and a group of adults erupted on a West Kelowna street Sunday evening

Kelowna real estate agent fined $6,500 for ‘misleading’ website

The website listed several services its owner was not licensed to provide

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Most Read