LETTER: Penticton parking prognostication

Residents should realize that Penticton is suffering from parking meter creep.

A recent article quotes city planning manager Blake Laven saying that $500,000 can be generated from implementing a city-wide metered parking plan.

This figure represents gross revenue. The City of Penticton financial budget for 2017 (page 55) lists a much lower figure when the costs of salaries, benefits, goods, services and fleet are subtracted from gross revenue.  Also not subtracted is the revenue split with the parking contractor, which brings into question why the need to privatizing parking. Isn’t parking at Penticton Regional Hospital hassle enough?

The reader should thoroughly understand that a large portion of gross revenue comes from writing parking citations, lots and lots of citations.  Here’s an example. In 2014, with 558 metered parking spaces 7,246 tickets were issued. The 2017 parking plan calls for metering 1,293 parking spaces and hiring an additional bylaw officer dedicated solely to writing parking tickets. Therefore, it follows that with doubling metered spaces, and implementing an aggressive approach to ticketing, the yearly total would easily exceed 20,000.

Also factor in the new casino being completed by June 2017. Surely there are plans to meter parking around the casino.

In time, I believe, there will be a move to build a multi-storey parkade adjacent to the casino. Where will it go? With streets on two sides and buildings on two sides, quite possibility either the curling rink or the Memorial Arena will fall victim to progress.

If a parkade is built, it seems logical that the entire South Okanagan Events Centre complex and adjacent parking lots currently under construction would be metered as well, substantially increasing the number of metered spaces available for ticketing.

Residents should realize that Penticton is suffering from parking meter creep. Under the guise of acquiring data for a study to satisfy the contract with the private parking contractor, selected streets and parking lots are slowly, ever so slowly, transitioning into metered parking.  This was verified when Mayor Jakubeit stated the following: “will help staff and residents ease into our expanding paid parking.”

Don’t be fooled by the self-serving spin and misinformation coming from city hall.  Trust and confidence, two essential ingredients of a healthy and functional governing body, are long gone.

Until Mayor Jakubeit and his cabal are pastured out two years from now, their every move and statements should be closely watched, researched and questioned.

C. Otto Knaak

Penticton