Council expected to make decision about paid parking

·3 min read

Jasper Municipal Council is scheduled to make a formal decision about paid parking at its regular meeting on Jan. 19.

Council indicated support for a pilot project to test the waters during their committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 12.

Paid parking would be a much-needed alternative source of revenue for the town, according to administration. It outlined that public parking is not free and is paid for by property owners and their tenants through property taxes.

Those taxes fund the cost of construction, pavings, painting, snow removal, sweeping and maintenance of public parking. Paid parking downtown and in municipal parking lots would allow the town to charge visitors for a service they use.

As visitors are the main users of the town’s parking infrastructure, paid parking would allocate expenses more equitably between taxpayers, service users and visitors, administration added.

“There is a great deal of concern if we implement paid parking downtown, there’ll be more and more visitor parking extending into residential areas,” said Coun. Paul Butler, adding this could result in pushback from the community.

Coun. Helen Kelleher-Empey said paid parking could be implemented temporarily from June to September this year to see how it goes.

“There’s no harm in trying,” she said. “We have to take that step. We need income.”

Council heard presentations from three paid parking companies at a meeting on Aug. 25, 2020.

Chief administrative officer (CAO) Bill Given said paid parking “has the potential to provide a positive impact on the community’s finances.”

Given said he appreciates the uncertainty in the community about paid parking but told council it would be a good plan to provide a start date and then administration can bring forward information about the implementation at a subsequent meeting.

Municipal elections

With a municipal election coming up on Oct. 18, Deputy Mayor Scott Wilson put out the call to Jasper residents to see “if they’d like to serve the community for the next four years.”

Council is scheduled to formally appoint legislative services manager Christine Nadon as returning officer and Kayla Byrne as deputy returning officer at the Jan. 19 meeting.

“Any member of the public who wants to submit nomination papers can,” Given said, as the nomination period opened Jan. 1.

ECC update

In his Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) update, Greg Van Tighem, director of protective services, reported the hospital is no longer in outbreak status.

Van Tighem said the business community is adapting well with the need to adhere to COVID protocol and they are looking at “outside-the-box” types of services.

He also noted COVID vaccines will be given to EMS staff. That doesn’t include the volunteer fire department, but they may be in line for vaccines after EMS personnel.

Wilson congratulated the town of Jasper in bringing the number of active COVID cases down to six.

“If we stick with it, we’ll get through,” he said.

Skatepark support

Council also voiced support for a skatepark.

Coun. Jenna McGrath called a skatepark “an incredible, accessible asset” to Jasper.

The importance of engaging the community in fundraising was emphasized in addition to grant funding, if successful, and funding from the municipality.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh