While summer vacationers are out hiking and biking and swimming and boating, Kamloops City council members will be focussed on cars.
Council voted Tuesday to hold a summer workshop before a regular Tuesday meeting in July or August to talk about the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association’s downtown parking recommendations.
KCBIA manager Gay Pooler mapped out the suggestions for council Tuesday, after which Coun. Tina Lange said they needed time to discuss the aspects of the proposal.
Mayor Peter Milobar warned council had other reports to deal with during the summer as well.
Coun. Arjun Singh moved that council have staff look at going to an expression of interest on potential parkades downtown, while looking over the association’s other suggestions at the workshop. Council agreed.
Downtown businesses are having a tough time with adequate parking for their staff as well as their customers, said Pooler.
The proposal includes a call for $1 million to be spent on parking kiosks that people could use to pay for 15 minutes to three hours, express stalls, an increase in meter rates, possibly higher rates in busier areas and higher fines.
Pooler said the parking rates were last increased in 1994.
All money from downtown parking — meters, City lots, the two parkades and fines — should go back into parking solutions and management instead of general coffers, she said.
The City should work with developers and property owners to find long-term parking solutions. New developments should provide their own parking and spaces for the public.
Coun. Nancy Bepple had concerns about who pays for the parking solutions.
But Pooler said the businesses paid into a fund to create the two existing parkades, plus they paid a levy for the Interior Savings Centre and to beautify Victoria Street.
Coun. Ken Christian said people need to take a park and walk approach, realizing they can’t get a spot right in front of their destination.
Things that make walking nicer — curb extensions and wide sidewalks — would help, instead of narrowing walkways to squeeze in more parking spots, he said.
Coun. Tina Lange said the meter and fine money helps offset what residents would pay in taxes.
“I hear it (building a parkade and other parking options) is helping business, they should pay for it. I'd like to hear how much business is giving because that money is going to help taxpayers,” she said.
Pooler said last year, the City netted $217,000 from on-street parking — $4.26 per household.
Coun. Pat Wallace pointed out the City taxpayers cover the cost of the new parking enforcement car and equipment, upgrades to meters and staffing.