11th-Hour Award goes to KCBIA for nick-of-time parking reprieve

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
December 13, 2017 - 5:05am Updated: December 14, 2017 - 10:55am

KAMLOOPS — I want to congratulate the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association for discovering four years after it was scheduled, that a 25-cent-an-hour parking-rate increase wouldn’t be popular.

When increases were being considered back then, KCBIA general manager Gay Pooler said parking rates were, and I quote, “way too reasonable.” Based on that philosophy, the business group supported the schedule of increases.

The wisdom at the time was to jack up the rates to encourage people to park somewhere other than on Victoria Street.

Now, though, just a few short weeks before the 2018 increase was supposed to take effect, the BIA concluded that pissing people off isn’t a sustainable business model.

As BIA president Mike O’Reilly put it yesterday, the increase would amount to 17 per cent, and that just “doesn’t make sense.”

Well, good for the KCBIA, a bit late for an epiphany, but what the heck, they got their way, since City council gave them their wish and has delayed the increase until 2019, and will look at ways to improve those gawdawful kiosks in the meantime.

Mind you, the decision will cost $230,000 in lost revenue, and as much as $25,000 to re-program the kiosks, but that’s just the price of procrastination.

While the BIA can take most of the credit for coming late to the party, council deserves some kudos as well, for its own last-minute awakening when the BIA stepped up.

And, finally, props all around, council and BIA included, for coming up with a new term under which to attempt resurrection of the $100,000 parking study. It will become a “transportation” study which, to my understanding, is a parking study with some other stuff added.

One final thought, with thanks to Gay Pooler, who once said, “If you don’t have parking problems in your downtown, likely your downtown is dead.”

In that case, I’d say the Kamloops downtown is alive and well.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.