Shocked by skyrocketing parking rates downtown?

Get used to it, says Coun. Scott McKeen.

"These are transitional issues that other biggers cities have gone through before us," he said. "It's painful for people. They've been able to come downtown and park for $10 a day."

It was especially painful for Shane Valor, who came downtown for the day to work at a building site.

When he arrived at an Impark lot near the arena, he balked at the $35 daily parking rate.

"It's kind of crazy," he said. "I've never seen that anywhere."

He hoped to unload his tools, race back to his car and find a cheaper parking spot before getting tagged. He didn't make it.

"I got ticketed and that was $50. It's tough.

"I'm sure everyone is having trouble right now finding parking anywhere, because there is just no place to park. There's so much construction going on."

Dharminderjit Multani wasn't happy paying $21 for just three hours of parking.

"They are unbelievable," he said. "It's no good. It's just a tactic of making money here. That's all."

Multani said if the city wants people to come downtown, it should control parking rates.

But McKeen said that isn't going to happen.

"There's nothing the municipality can do or should do," he said.

"Edmonton is just at this tipping point that all big cities go through, where parking just becomes more and more dear.

"Parking takes up valuable land. As we get bigger and the downtown fills up, that land just becomes more valuable."

As more gravel lots become condo towers, office buildings and arenas, parking becomes a luxury.

While the rising rates are good for the bottom line, Impark said it also has a responsibility to ensure its maintains available spaces in each of its lots.

"The objective here is to make sure that there is always space for someone to come into a lot if they're trying to get to an appointment or a meeting," said senior vice-president Julian Jones.

"Our mechanism for doing that is to adjust the price."