Meters not seen as solution to parking woes

After receiving the results of a downtown parking survey, town council agreed Monday night that exploring alternative measures to enforce parking—and not parking meters—may be the way to go to solve problems.
The survey, conducted by the Planning and Development executive committee, showed 51 of 67 responding business owners felt parking meters were unnecessary.
Just 13 favoured installing them while three had no opinion.
Weighing the options whether to proceed unilaterally with the re-installation of parking meters, to not proceed with the re-installation, or to explore other alternatives, council agreed to the third—but not after some debate.
Coun. Deane Cunningham recalled the issue was a hot one back in the early ’80s, when he was mayor and opposed it then.
“I understand the merchants’ point-of-view,” he said. “If you say the revenues are going to be considered general revenue, they may have a problem.
“If we say it will go into off-street parking, they may see it another way,” Coun. Cunningham added.
“I don’t understand the rationale behind saying parking meters hurt downtown business,” remarked Coun. Struchan Gilson.
“There’s nowhere else to go,” he argued. “If you can’t park there, you’re not going to go across or to Emo.”
“But there is a downtown parking problem. All tourists do is get frustrated. They go round and round,” noted Coun. Dave Bourgeault, adding paying for parking is ubiquitous in cities such as Thunder Bay and Winnipeg.
Coun. Sharon Tibbs said one alternative could be hiring summer students to enforce two-hour and handicap parking violations.
“Parking meters are expensive. Is there another way to limit how long someone parks on street?” wondered Coun. Roy Avis.
Mayor Glenn Witherspoon noted the issue also could be passed on to the “Re-Inventing Fort Frances” feasibility study for more input.

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