Residential only parking in Penticton is expanding and some homeowners are concerned about new charges.
City of Penticton planning manager Blake Laven said the parking restrictions are expanding around the hospital area and to the west and east of downtown.
“This is all part of the parking strategy. Over the past three years, we’ve received petitions from several neighbourhoods, with downtown employees parking in their neighbourhood, so they’ve wanted some protective measures,” said Laven, noting the restrictions have been in place around Ellis and Braid Streets, as well as parts of Churchill Avenue.
Resident only parking comes at a cost though. The city charges $15 annually for a permit — increasing to $30 in 2018 —allowing a homeowner to park a vehicle on the street.
Judy Matheson, who lives in a neighbourhood off Lakeshore Drive, asked in a letter to the editor if this wasn’t just another form of taxation by the City of Penticton.
A letter to homeowners said the resident-only program is being expanded because of expected overflow as pay parking expands in the downtown.
“So we are basically being held for ransom because the city is insisting on putting parking meters on the beach,” wrote Matheson, suggesting the city scrap adding parking meters along Lakeshore.
“That is a yearly fee, per household, and it is just for administration of the program. It is quite costly,” said Laven, listing costs like bylaw officers and printing the tickets. “We hadn’t been charging it for the first few years of the program. Now that we are expanding it, we are going to be charging that fee.”
The city has scaled back on plans for pay parking along the length of Lakeshore, but it is still going to be implemented in the commercial areas of the street.
“We’ve pulled it back until we can do more research and engage the public on it,” said Laven. He added that the city is in the last stages of a Request for Proposals to find a vendor to streamline the city’s parking systems, and allow people to buy their passes directly from smartphones.
The way it works right now, you have to show up at City Hall on the 15th of every month and you have this big long lineup. There is better ways to do it. We are just finishing up an RFP on a computer program that is going to be a lot easier to purchase parking passes from the city,” said Laven, who expects to see the system in place in early 2017.
“Our hope is that everybody downloads, it is an app-based payment so you have the app on your phone and you just purchase the parking that way. But there will be machines down there that you can put coins or a credit card through.
Enforcement of the new resident-only parking zones will begin April 1, 2017.