The city is looking into price gouging for downtown parking after reports that a Rush concert goer paid $100 to park near Copps Coliseum.
A Toronto resident called Coun. Jason Farr's office to complain about the cost of parking for the July 6 show, Farr told fellow planning committee members Tuesday.
The city has no control over the rates charged by private parking lot owners. But if people feel gouged, it goes against all the efforts the city has made to draw people downtown, Farr said.
Whether the Rush fan was charged $100 or not, Farr says he's heard similar complaints before.
"One hundred dollars is counter to everything we're trying to achieve in the downtown core," said the Ward 2 councillor, who represents downtown.
He wants staff to look into "any avenue we can take…to address this sooner rather than later, before the next big show comes to town."
The city owns a number of municipal parking lots downtown. The others are privately owned, and the city doesn't regulate the rates, said Marty Hazell, director of parking and bylaw.
"The only tool we have is to make sure there's proper signage in place to make sure motorists know before they enter the lots."
Farr says he understands special event pricing. But excessive parking rates sends "the most terrible message.
"Toronto doesn't even do this. New York doesn't do this. Chicago probably doesn't do this. This is not a healthy practice and to get calls of this nature is very significant."
Hazell will investigate the claim, which angered other councillors too. Allowing an "unscrupulous individual to nickel and dime" visitors to Hamilton will kill a concert promoter's interest in the city, said Coun. Brad Clark of Ward 9 in Stoney Creek.
Global Spectrum, the new manager of Copps Coliseum, is trying to bring top acts to Hamilton, and "that will kill it," Clark said.
"We need to get it under control and we need to get it under control fast."
The city has received similar complaints about the high cost of parking at private lots. Farr fears that the majority of people won't call the city or his office. They will just be turned off the downtown and not come back again.
"Certainly we need to look at this further," he said. "This is serious."