When the casino’s plans were revealed at their open house, their representative claimed they needed only 24 parking spaces. This seemed low, but I was assured that was enough.
City planners subsequently required 80 spaces for the original square footage of this building. Within the casino leased area, they provide 65 stalls. The city agreement compels them to lease 15 stalls on an annual basis.
If a taxpayer reserves an off-street parking stall from the city on a monthly basis the annual cost is $540.
If you chose (you can’t) to park at metered street parking at two hours for $2 on an annual basis it would cost you $8,544 — metered parking is a cash cow for the city.
The casino rents 15 stalls from the city and pays $48.60 per annum per stall, with a 2 per cent increase each year.
Taxpayers $540/$8,544: casino $48.60.
Will the sweetheart deals never end?
Urban Systems estimated the building as 1,217 square metres larger than the original plans so perhaps they are not paying for enough stalls even at these bargain rates.
When the casino was housed at the Lakeside Resort, Penticton city council forced David Prystay to build a 210-stall parkade at a cost of $2.25 million. That casino was smaller with no restaurants with outdoor patios to lure in extra clientele, yet apparently, city council does not require 250 stalls for the new, larger casino.
Taxpayers just purchased additional land for $1.5 million due to the shortage of parking at the South Okanagan Events Centre. It seems to me the answer lies in building a parkade. A 500-stall parkade in today’s prices would cost $10 to $12 million. The casino really owes taxpayers half the cost. Then they could have the 250 spaces they need over in their area to serve their clients.
In return, we could put in hourly parking rates and have the remaining $5 or 6 million paid for in five or six years. This would go a long way to restoring goodwill for the casino from a public fed up with the loss of parking at the SOEC.
If twin rinks are going to be built on the SOEC campus then the parkade might have to be larger and the cost would be higher. However, the casino should still foot the bill for 250 stalls in the parkade to replace the parking they require in the casino area.