Penticton looks at extension to free parking

Coun. John Vassilaki suggests extending free parking to two hours on Main Street, from Westminster to Eckhardt Avenue

According to Penticton Coun. John Vassilaki, the most complaint-driven subject in town is parking.

“Not the lack of parking, but the cost and the length of time free parking is permitted before one has to relocate his vehicle,” said Vassilaki. “In areas that have meters, drivers can stay as long as they like, as long as they remember to plug the meters.”

Vassilaki proposed this week that the time limit for free parking along Main Street, from Westminster to Eckhardt Avenue, be doubled to two hours. Over and over, he said, he hears complaints from merchants over the lack of time shoppers and diners have to finish their errands before they have to move their vehicle.

After an extended discussion of the issue and a close 4-3 vote, council elected to include the changes in the 2013 budget planning process. But Vassilaki’s parking concerns aren’t the only ones to have surfaced recently. In September, Coun. Judy Sentes questioned the level of parking enforcement and ticketing during major events like the recent Dragon Boat festival, which drew some 2,700 visitors.

City manager Annette Antoniak said she tends to agree with Sentes, and is in discussions with the city’s bylaw enforcement department regarding the concern.

“It’s a matter of using common sense. If people are blocking an emergency access or a driveway, that’s an issue,” said Antoniak. “When there is a big dragon boat festival or another big event going on, do you really want to annoy people? Is that the neighbourly thing to do?”

While he ended up supporting Vassilaki’s motion, Mayor Dan Ashton said Penticton doesn’t have a parking problem.

“A perfect example is the 400 block parking lot where the old Super-Valu store was. That lot was plugged. The minute they put a meter in, those cars are gone. You know where they are at, they are on Main Street, they are on the side streets,” said Ashton. He also pointed out a problem with owners and staff taking up the free parking on Main Street.

“I think it is behooving of any business to make sure that they, or their employees, are not taking up that space. They want the turnover,” Ashton said, adding that he doesn’t want to see pay parking on Main Street. Rather, he would rather see the businesses police the problem themselves. “I don’t want to see it utilized as a parking lot for employees and business owners.”

Coun. Andrew Jakubeit, who operates The Grooveyard on Main Street, echoed Ashton’s concerns. There was some irony, he said, that when he was president of the Downtown Penticton Association, he had lobbied for two-hour free parking. But that, he said, should be in the back parking lots.

“We have this problem with people that if they can’t drive up to a business and park in front of it, they think there is no parking and go elsewhere,” he said. “We still have chronic problems with some businesses, their staff and their owners parking in front of their place of business and taking up a spot that should be reserved for a playing customer.”

Vassilaki, whose sister operates a restaurant on Main, argued that problem remains, no matter how long or short the parking time limit.

“They do the same thing now with just the one hour. When the chalk person comes by, they go out there and rub the chalk off and it stays there for another hour,” said Vassilaki. “What I am trying to get away from is all the shoppers that continuously complain that they do not shop downtown because they have to pay to park or move their car every hour.”

Vassilaki was supported by a survey launched by the DPA in response to his notice of motion. They sent a survey to 202 of their members and received 129 responses. The majority, 108, supported a two-hour limit, with 21 opposed.

“This is not going to be a major cost. The only thing that has to be changed are the signs,” said Vassilaki. “We don’t have to spend millions of dollars in order to bring more people downtown to shop.”


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

Just Posted

Crystal Johns used her lunch break to film her audition video for the Vancouver Canucks.
VIDEO: Former Vees anthem singer wants to bring her voice to the Canucks

Crystal Johns made her audition tape during a lunch break

The Village of Keremeos is preparing to open up the village to in-province travellers as the province enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Electric vehicle use continues to rise in Keremeos

August saw 147 vehicles for the peak of the year

Four staff members at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were self-isolating on March 19. The regional district is also considering whether to continue keeping its doors open to the public. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Feedback wanted on plan to make West Bench age-friendly

Some 43 per cent of West Bench residents are over the age of 55

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Penticton Real Canadian Superstore
New COVID case at Penticton Superstore

The last day the employee worked was Jan. 21

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read