KAMLOOPS — Parking rates in downtown Kamloops are going up again.
As of January, the first two hours will cost $1.50 an hour at the kiosks, and $3 for the third hour.
That’s a hike of 25 cents for the first two hours, 50 cents for the third.
It’s no surprise, though — or shouldn’t be, since the decision was made four years ago. Plenty of warning.
Looked at another way, the hourly rate has gone up by 50 per cent over that time. And, in 2013, when the new parking kiosks were brought in, the $1 per hour we paid then was double what it was under the old meters.
Those kiosks, which were terrible things from the beginning, now look worn out. Not long after they were installed, there were so many complaints that the City tested out a better screen so people could read the thing, but three years later nothing more has been done.
And that one lone improved screen on Victoria Street is in such tough shape you have to practically break your thumb trying to get the “Okay” button to work.
But today’s question is, are we paying too much for parking? Let’s set aside the argument for free parking for the moment, and look elsewhere.
In Vancouver, the basic rate is $2 an hour for on-street parking. In Kelowna, it’s a buck twenty-five. Victoria drivers pay $1.50, the same as Kamloops drivers will pay next year.
And, not to forget that parking in the Tranquille Road shopping zone is free, because no civic politician is willing to commit political suicide by suggesting a level playing field.
Nobody likes to pay more for parking. Nobody likes to pay for parking at all.
But, let’s face it, the parking rates in downtown Kamloops aren’t out of line with what people have to pay in other B.C. cities.
So, come Jan. 1, we’ll just have to suck it up and shell out another quarter for the privilege of shopping in downtown Kamloops.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.