Charlottetown businesses ask for freeze on parking rates

·1 min read

The City of Charlottetown has received a request from local business groups to put a freeze on parking fees.

The meter rates were due to increase in October from $1.50 an hour to $2 — and parkade rates from $8.75 a day to $12.25 — but those plans were put on hold as businesses began to see fewer customers due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The city offered free parking at meters for the month of December, with the province picking up $15,000 of the lost revenue and the city absorbing the remaining $45,000.

Now, Mayor Phillip Brown said the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Charlottetown Inc., along with some local business owners, are asking the city to further delay the increase in meter and parkade rates until at least next September.

He said it's important to keep an open dialogue with local businesses while keeping the city's finances in order. Under provincial legislation, municipal governments cannot project a budget with a deficit.

"We're trying to be as co-operative and collaborative as we're able to," Brown said. "Municipalities do not have the fiscal firepower that provinces and the federal government have."

Brown said he'll bring the requests to council.

He said he'd also like to hear feedback from local businesses on whether the free parking in December helped bring in customers, or whether they found the spots were just being taken by people who work downtown.

"It's always a balancing act," he said.

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