Three new parking pay stations are on the way for Salmon Arm, but they won’t be taking credit cards just yet.
In August 2019, rampant vandalism of existing parking meters started and continued into this year.
Staff estimate that more than 100 meters have been damaged beyond repair, which would mean a minimum replacement cost for the same meters of $38,000.
To avoid more vandalism, the city is purchasing three ‘pay by plate’ parking stations. Staff report these large central ticket dispensers that serve multiple parking spaces are much harder to vandalize, given they have an armoured box at the bottom.
One such unit is already in use, across from the Hudson Thrift Shoppe, and serves the south side of Hudson Avenue NE between Fourth and Sixth streets.
New parking pay stations will be placed on the south side of Hudson Avenue NE in front of the post office and on both sides of Hudson serving the 400 to 600 block. The existing machine across from the thrift shop will be moved to Second Avenue NE in front of city hall.
At city council’s March 9 meeting, Maurice Roy, manager of permits and licensing, told council that although the new parking stations can accommodate coins, credit cards and debit cards, the city’s system doesn’t accept credit cards for any city transactions.
Until a system is in place, the parking stations will take only coins.
“So for now it will be coin only but they’re easily upgradeable when we get the rest of our system set up. Right now we can’t do any service rendered to the city because we’re not set up for credit cards.”
Deputy mayor Debbie Cannon said she always uses her credit card when she parks in other places.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he finds it frustrating and would like the city to look at incorporating cards.
Acting chief financial officer Tracy Tulak said the city has looked at it in the past for a variety of services including property taxes and building permits, but the credit card fees were high so it wasn’t supported at the time.
She said staff could look at it again to try to find a system that doesn’t have such high fees.
Two areas still have the old-style parking meters: near the cenotaph and near the legion.
Council members voted unanimously to approve $40,000 from the general parking reserve for the purchase and installation of three parking pay stations as well as a tablet compatible with the three machines for the bylaw enforcement officer. Mayor Alan Harrison and Coun. Tim Lavery were absent.
The supplier of that