Charlottetown defers parking rate increase to 2021
Original plan was to implement Oct. 1
Charlottetown council has decided to defer the city's scheduled parking rate increase to 2021.
Coun. Greg Rivard tabled the motion at a council meeting Thursday evening. He says the federal and provincial governments are looking at ways to help small businesses and he doesn't feel it is the right time for a parking hike in the downtown area.
"I think deferring the metre hike and the parkade hike was really a simple no-brainer," he said.
"We're trying to bring people downtown to shop at the merchants, use the restaurants. And without tourism … we need to do our part to encourage people to come downtown and spend money and help these folks out."
The increase has been deferred to Jan. 31, 2021.
The rate increase was included in the city's 2020-2021 budget. It would have taken metered parking from $1.50 to $2 an hour. The new parkade rates would have been $1.75 an hour, $12.25 a day and $150 a month, up from the current rates of $1.25 an hour, $8.75 a day and $115 a month.
Originally the plan was to implement the hike on Oct. 1, but the city's business community argued last week they were not consulted and should have been. The city then deferred the decision to Oct. 31.
Members of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Charlottetown Inc. were at the meeting Thursday.
The motion also promised a meeting with business groups in early January.
Rivard said the city should have been better at communicating with business groups and he understands their frustration.
"I don't think anybody anticipated that the pandemic would have lasted this long and had the results that it did," he said.
"Buying a few more months to see where things sit — I think it was a good idea."
He said if things don't improve for businesses by January, he hopes council considers deferring the increase again.
The city made parking free in the downtown core from March until the end of June in order to spur economic activity.