EDITORIAL: Parking spot mathematics

If you are the owner of an empty lot, charging for parking on it can make for a nice steady income.

Let’s face it, paying for parking is a fact of life.

If you are the owner of an empty lot, charging for parking on it can make for a nice steady income.

Check out the math: Charging a dollar an hour, for eight hours a day and 20 days a month adds up to $1,920 a year. If you’ve got 20 spots, that’s nearly $40,000 a year.

And the City of Penticton has a lot more than 20 parking spots under its purview. So it’s hard to blame them for thinking about all the income that could be generated from those spots.

But municipal governments aren’t a business, however much some would say they should be run like one. A private landowner can be expected to look for ways to generate income from a piece of vacant land, but a city is there to serve the needs of the people.

And those needs include parking. It’s one thing to charge for parking in commercial areas, but city council needs to rethink the plan to extend pay parking to recreational areas.

Pay parking has already been introduced at the South Okanagan Events Centre for certain events. Considering that people have already paid considerable prices for tickets, it’s hard to see that as anything but a money grab.

Extending pay parking into recreational areas is going to hurt Penticton’s image as a welcoming city, not to mention the eyesore that parking meters arrayed along the beautiful Lakeshore Drive is going to be. And making the lots at Skaha Lake Park into pay parking doesn’t make a lot of sense considering how heavily it is used by residents, who already pay taxes to support the city.

The City of Penticton needs more income, but let’s not get it by picking the pockets of tourists, or double-charging residents for enjoying themselves.