Parking plan runs out of gas

Harrison Hot Springs council divided on pay parking proposal

The pay parking model sputtered to a stop in Harrison Hot Springs Monday night.

A divided council voted to not adopt the GoPark proposal that would have brought 43 pay park machines to be installed through the highest traffic areas in the Village.

GoPark was invited by staff and council to create a proposal. They were selected by a staff committee which looked at six different companies. GoPark brought that presentation to council in early January, and the community was asked to weigh in through a poll conducted by the Village.  The majority of respondents (54 per cent) said they were not in favour of the proposal. Forty-four of the respondents were in favour, and two per cent did not answer that question.

In light of that feedback, staff presented council with a recommendation that the pay parking proposal not be approved after all.

Coun. Allan Jackson and Mayor Leo Facio were both hoping to see the pay parking model roll out, and voted against staff’s recommendation. Couns. Sonja Reyerse, Zoltan Kiss and John Buckley all spoke out against the proposal before voting in favour of staff recommendation.

Jackson was agitated and voiced his displeasure with the councillors who voted in line with staff.

“I wish the other councillors would have decided beforehand,” he said, suggesting they would have avoided going through the proposal process. “This was a waste of time.”

He said that without the revenue from pay parking, council can expect to see raised taxes.

But it was Mayor Leo Facio who has been pushing for pay parking, as he stated on Monday night.

“You know very well I’ve been chasing this since 1993,” Facio said. “And I think this time around, the company was very flexible with what they presented.”

He also stated that the Village is facing “a tight squeeze,” much like other communities.

“I’m sorry it hasn’t gone through,” Facio said.

A total of 267 responses were received from the poll, 232 from residents, 19 from property owners and 21 from businesses.

Staff said it would be “difficult to project pay parking revenue as there are many unknown factors and because conditions such as pay parking area, price and number of equipment can have a significant influence on the revenue.”

Based on the proposal, the gross revenues in the first year could have been $371,731, with $84,133 in expenses to run the program, making a net income of $287,598.

The councillors who spoke out against pay parking cited various reasons for shutting down the proposal.

“I do believe we have a parking problem in the Village,” said Kiss. “But I don’t think this is the way to fix it.”

Buckley said pay parking is “not a cut and dry solution” to traffic issues, and could create problems in residential areas.

“We don’t want to be ticketing and towing neighbours who come here for coffee and exercise,” he said. “It would have a negative effect and I believe accommodations would suffer.”

He also said the proposal was “unrealistic” because it is based on full parking occupancy throughout May to September, without accounting for rainy weekends, mid-week slumps or the slow shoulder season.

“I don’t want to be a running a deficit,” he said.

Reyerse noted that the issue has been a contentious one that has divided the community for some time, “pitting resident against resident.”

The mid-week is a struggle for businesses, she said. She also cited estimates that 30  per cent of people would stop coming to Harrison is there were pay parking, and broke that down to a $1.5 million loss to the local economy just to attain “an unknown, unproven revenue” from pay parking.

At the GoPark presentation in January, representative Justin Powell couldn’t come up with a break even number of parked cars over the given period of time, because there were too many variables.

Reyerse had asked him for a best and worst case scenario.

“We don’t know,” he responded. “I couldn’t tell you that.”

Each machine would have cost the Village $150 a month, for five months of the year. Operation of each machine would have cost an additional $75 per month. Rates would have been fifty cents for 15 minutes, a loonie for a half hour or $8 for a full six hour stay, with rates in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

Just Posted

Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

Feedback during Fraser Health events showed access to health care needs to improve

Development on the horizon for Harrison Hot Springs Marina

The property has been the subject of a number development proposals over the years

Chilliwack Players Guild brings first ever radio play to stage

An Affair of Honour is based on a true story, written by the father of a Chilliwack man

‘Big hearts and even bigger feet’: Comedian sends Harrison humour to the silver screen

Jonny Harris will see the town highlighted on his small-town comedy series ‘Still Standing’

More staff being hired at Fraser Valley seniors homes

Number of care hours for residents lags behind provincial targets

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of Brunette overpass

Dash cam footage shows a vehicle speeding across a Lower Mainland overpass

Lower Mainland teacher resigned after ‘inappropriate discussions’ with elementary students

Tracy Joseph Fairley resigned from Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district April 23, 2018

Surrey needs 350 more cops, activist tells council

‘Right now we are 350 police behind what our population requires,’ politicians are told

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Where mattresses go to die

Mattress Recycling opens the largest of its kind mattress-recycling facility in Hope

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read