Free parking is being rationed in downtown Vernon.
On Tuesday, the city approved a maximum of eight days of free on-street metered parking each year for Downtown Vernon Association or community-based events.
“It might mean a few days reduction (for the DVA) because it allows other organizations to qualify,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
“We have been quite generous with free parking and it does impact our revenue.”
According to staff, requests for free parking from the DVA have grown from one or two days a year in the 1980s to more than 10 days in 2015.
The cost to provide free on-street parking is about $3,600 per day.
Coun. Catherine Lord wanted clarification on what’s exactly meant by eight days of free parking.
“Can it mean 16 half-days? That question will come up,” she said.
However, staff insists the rules refer to full days.
“It’s difficult to provide parking for half-a-day,” said Clint Kanester, manager of protective services.
“In general, with Shop Local days or the Sunshine Festival, they are full-day events.”
Council has also approved a maximum of four days of free off-street parking in the parked and city-owned lots for DVA and community events.
DVA officials are trying to get more information on the new rules.
“To compare what we asked for in 1980 to now is ridiculous,” said Lara Konkin, DVA executive director.
“I would hope that we have enhanced our programming and are listening to the needs of the businesses and the public, and responding to that.”
Konkin is also questioning financial figures presented by city staff.
“I would doubt that the loss is equal to the projected $3,600 per day,” she said.