New Brunswick

Saint John cracking down on illegal private parking lots

Saint John is cracking down on illegal parking lots after a report presented to councillors by city staff Monday night recommended they authorize legal action against the owners of five properties.

Municipality plans to take the owners of 5 unregistered lots to court

Saint John is cracking down on illegal parking lots after a report presented to councillors by city staff Monday night recommended they authorize legal action against the owners of five properties.

Some private parking lots in Saint John charge $50 less per month than the $113 monthly rate at the Peel Plaza parking garage. (Connell Smith/CBC)
The municipality plans to take those five unregistered, private competitors to court and is working with the owners of 31 others to make their lots are fully compliant through zoning changes or other measures.

Coun. Gerry Lowe, who has made parking issues a priority, says such a crackdown is long overdue.

"I don't think anybody's every been prosecuted in this city for an illegal parking lot, so that will be the first time that ever happens," he said.

Lowe hopes the legal action will help get more cars into the city's nearly new $16-million Peel Plaza parking garage, which runs huge annual deficits and is often less than one-quarter full.

But councillor Shirley McAlary says the city should also look into its monthly parking prices.

"They have to become competitive with the private owners somehow because that's how they're going to get more customers," she said.

The monthly parking rate at Peel Plaza is $113. McAlary says there are nearby private lots charging $50 less.

Councillors have also asked city managers to prepare a report looking at a number of other measures, including, potentially, an end to free on-street parking in the lower part of the southern peninsula, below Queen Street.

McAlary doubts that will work unless the city lowers its own parking rates.

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