CFB Halifax struggles with parking lot scramble

The Canadian Forces Base in Halifax is struggling with a parking lot version of musical chairs - there are twice as many people who want to park their cars as there are parking spots.

3,500 parking spots vs. 7,000 employees with cars

The Canadian Forces Base in Halifax is facing a parking lot version of musical chairs — there are twice as many people who want to park their cars as there are parking spots.

To limit the scramble. the navy was only allowing people with eight or more years of seniority to get inside the gates to look for a spot.

But new rules handed down by military officials in Ottawa say everybody has to have shot at a spot.

Complicating matters, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) considers free parking a taxable benefit if not everyone has the opportunity to hunt for a spot.

The base commander, Capt. Angus Topshee, said letting everyone into the scramble parking has not worked.

“We attempted to move to full compliance with that rule right away and said OK, fair enough there are 3,500 parking spots and about 7,000 employees who could try for one of those parking spots on a given day. We tried to go to that system but the feedback we have got from our employees is it is just not possible,” he said.

Topshee said he never joined the navy to be a parking lot supervisor, but it is necessary to obey both military regulations and the tax law from CRA.

“By the first of September we will either have an unrestricted scramble parking system or we will have a pay for parking system,” he said.

If employees pay for parking, Topshee says there will be more money for snow clearing and painting lines on the lots.