How 107 downtown employees scored $55,000 parking stalls

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
January 20, 2018 - 5:00am
Image Credit: Mel Rothenburger

KAMLOOPS — ITEM: City of Kamloops announces that 17 more stalls in the new parking lot on the old KDN property have been reserved for permit holders, bringing the total to 107.

Upon checking with the City, the Armchair Mayor is informed that there are now only 74 spots left for the public.

And while the public parking rate in the lot is only 75 cents an hour compared to $1.25 at the on-street kiosks, the City intends to reserve more of the parking lot spaces for monthly renters if there’s a demand.

Rationale being that the more monthly renters who use the new parking lot, the fewer will hog on-street parking spaces downtown. And that, in the meantime, the cheaper rate for the public spots will lure some shoppers off Victoria Street.

I get the logic, but why encourage shoppers to park there by giving them a lower rate if monthly renters are going to get preference? Something will have to give.

And if the new lot results in zero new public parking stalls, will anything really have been done to relieve the parking congestion on Victoria Street?

The way I figure it, City taxpayers have spent $5.9 million on that lot to provide off-street parking for 107 employees of downtown businesses.

According to the Armchair Mayor’s creative arithmetic, it comes to just over $55,000 for each employee so far. If we assume all 181 stalls eventually go to reserved parking, it’s a mere $32,600 apiece.

ITEM: Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar, whose party trumpeted the wonders of LNG while in government, tweets that he’s “looking forward” to BC Greens “following thru on your commitment to bring govt down” over LNG. “Time for some follow thru…”

To which ever-indignant Green leader Andrew Weaver tweets back, “The last person I’m going to take any advice from is a @bcliberals backbench cheerleader.”

The exchange is based on Weaver’s threat, also via Twitter, that “if @BCNDPCaucus continue the generational sellout embodied in the #LNG folly of the BC Liberals, their government will fall.”

The object of Weaver’s tantrum is apparently a comment by John Horgan that B.C. has “a real opportunity” to land one or two LNG facilities.

Since Weaver couldn’t bring down the government without the BC Liberals voting with him, it raises the question of whether Milobar is suggesting the Liberals might do a total flip flop on LNG.

Wednesday, the backbench cheerleader tweets back to Weaver “simply stating looking forward to you (not u) following through on your own words.”

By Thursday, he’s wriggling out of what had seemed like a clanger by saying he meant it could happen in a vote on the budget or Throne Speech once the Legislature gets back to work in February.

Which, of course, is the usual way to bring down a government on a confidence matter, and the Libs could easily find some reason to vote against Horgan other than LNG.

Still, it seemed for a day or two as though the Liberals and NDP might form an alliance from hell on LNG.

ITEM: A report on snow removal shows a near-record 778 complaints have been received so far this winter. City director of public works Jen Fretz says one of the most common complaints is windrows that pile up in front of residential driveways. They are, she acknowledges, a challenge.

Meanwhile, feedback received by the Armchair Mayor confirms that windrows are the biggest annoyance when it comes to the job being done by the City.

For seniors and those physically unable to deal with them, it’s a cause for winter-long stress interspersed with moments of anger and frustration.

A close cousin of windrows is the hard-packed snow and ice that accumulates along the curbs in shopping areas, creating a barrier for pedestrians.

For a city that professes to be focused on making life easier for seniors and the handicapped, not to mention everyone else, Kamloops isn’t making the grade on this one.