Calgary

Calgary may charge people to park in residential permit zones

Calgarians will have to pay new fees in order to park in front of their house if city council approves proposed changes next month.

Right now, people who live in the zones can register 2 vehicles for free

A sign indicates residential permit parking only during certain hours on a Calgary street. (James Young/CBC)

Calgarians will have to pay new fees in order to park in front of their house if city council approves proposed changes next month.

As of now, those who live in the 80 permit parking zones around Calgary can register their licence plates in order to park close to home. The first two vehicles are free.

According to the city, that system costs $1.4 million each year to operate and enforce.

Under a new proposed system, residents would be charged $50 per year for one vehicle and $75 per year for a second.

Coun. Jeff Davison said shifting to a user-pay model will shift that burden off those Calgarians who don't utilize the service.

"Right now, every citizen, every taxpayer in Calgary covers the cost of residential parking permits," he said. "So what we're really trying to do is move from this idea of everyone pays to a user-pay model."

Though the change would represent a tiny cut in city spending, some councillors pushed back against introducing new fees at this time, given the economic situation in the city.

"This huge increase in fees is crazy," said Coun. Jeromy Farkas. "Parking is a requirement, it's not a luxury for the government to tax."

Council's transportation and transit committee approved the idea on Wednesday. It will be discussed at council next month.

If approved, the new charges would take effect in 2022.

With files from Scott Dippel

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