Parking has been free downtown on Saturdays this month — but does anyone know that?
The question was posed by a city councillor this week.
Denis Walsh said the city needs to better indicate to residents that parking is free on those days through November and December.
“We need more adequate signage,” Walsh said.
Council voted in October to extend its free seasonal parking downtown, which was offered in December in past years, after a request from the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association to encourage people to shop in the city’s core.
The four additional Saturdays will cost the city about $12,000 in parking revenue.
Walsh asked city staff whether the downtown parking kiosks could digitally inform users that parking is free, instead of waiting idly by to charge them.
“I’m not clear whether we can do that on our screens or not,” city community and protective services director Byron McCorkell said.
“I’ll have to check on that.”
Mayor Ken Christian reminded residents that the courtesy of free parking does not extend to private parking lots, such as ones managed by Impark.
Voting in favour of extending free parking from the previous council were councillors Kathy Sinclair, Walsh, Arjun Singh, Donovan Cavers, Tina Lange and Ray Dhaliwal. Opposed were Christian and councillors Dieter Dudy and Pat Wallace.
Wallace had expressed concern at the time that people would park for extended periods of time without bringing more money into local shops.
Meanwhile, Coun. Bill Sarai said the city is giving away revenue by not charging residents to park overnight downtown.
Sarai said there is demand for parking among downtown residents and wondered why the city isn’t capitalizing on empty parking spaces, which he said could fetch $60 to $80 dollars per month per space.
“I’m thinking, why are we giving revenue away?” Sarai asked.
McCorkell said staff can look into the matter, but noted the city doesn’t have overnight parking anywhere.
“Primarily because of people sleeping in their vehicles, camping,” he said.
McCorkell pointed to a previous issue of RVs parking at Walmart, which led that property owner to install signs prohibiting the practice, which is common among vacationers across North America.
“People will park anywhere,” McCorkell said.
Sarai said if the issue came down to liability, the same could be said about liability during daytime parking.