Salmon Arm is planning for new parking meters, probably similar to the types used in other regional cities. This current meter is on Hudson Avenue across from the CMHA Thrift Shoppe. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

New parking meters: Salmon Arm to get them, the question remains when

Parking plan not quite complete, cost of ‘smart’ meters could slow down implementation

New parking meters are on the horizon for Salmon Arm streets but, because they’re not cheap, timing depends on funding.

The Downtown Parking Commission has been working on a parking plan for more than two years, and a consultant will be coming in to prepare a final report expected to be complete by early 2020.

Recommendations will include parking meter technology, as well as parking duration, parking pricing and the planned parkade.

“We do not have a firm price on the new ‘Smart’ parking meter strategy for the downtown area, but it will be in the $200,000 range and will provide automated types similar to what is in Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna,” explains Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works.

During recent budget deliberations, city council added $25,000 to the reserve fund for meters, making a total of $35,000.

The 2020 budget also contains $20,000 for a new ticket machine for Marine Park as the current one is too old and unreliable.

Read more: Parking price hike could free up spots in downtown Kelowna

Read more: Street parking in downtown Salmon Arm – should it be limited to one hour or two?

Prior to budget talks, Chelsea Van de Cappelle, the city’s chief financial officer, stated in a memo to council that the parking commission had recommended last year that $100,000 be included in the 2019 budget for the purchase of new downtown parking meter technology to be implemented in the spring of 2020.

However, 2019 was a tight budget year so the $100,000 didn’t materialize.

“The modernized equipment offers convenience by allowing users to pay with credit, debit and smart phone apps. In addition, the equipment can streamline the monitoring, administration and enforcement of parking control; however, the cost to purchase these meters is significant,” wrote Van de Cappelle.

During budget deliberations, Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if the meters with coins will be gone in the future.

Coun. Chad Eliason, who is a council rep on the parking commission, said people currently smash them to steal a few dollars inside, it costs $1,000 to fix them, and no one is making them any more.

Read more: Hospital pay parking revenue in B.C. topped $36M last fiscal year

Read more: B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

Coun. Kevin Flynn, council representative on Downtown Salmon Arm, said parking gets talked about by the DSA regularly. In the long term, he said, electronic parking metres with some free hours, then a cost if you stay for more, and being related to licence plates is a good idea. He said he’ll be glad to see the meters that people steal from gone.

Also in the parking budget is the parkade proposed for Fourth Street NE near the Canadian Mental Health Association building on Hudson Avenue.

By Dec. 31, 2020, the reserve for the parkade is estimated to contain $1.57 million. According to the city’s debt strategy, the parkade will be constructed in 2023.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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