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Councillor proposes free year-round parking for veterans in Vancouver

Last Updated Nov 25, 2019 at 12:03 pm PDT

FILE - A Canadian flag sits on a members of Canadian forces that are leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on October 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

A city councillor wants free parking for veterans to be expanded in Vancouver

Melissa De Genova hopes the changes will be in place by Remembrance Day next year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A city councillor in Vancouver is hoping her idea to offer free parking to veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is approved in time for next year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Right now the city provides free parking at metres, Easy Lots and at parks, community centres and pools from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11 for Veterans’ Week, but Melissa De Genova is bringing a motion to council to change that.

“As a very small gesture for all that they do, offering free parking year-round, as we do from Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, is a small way for the City of Vancouver to acknowledge the huge contributions of veterans and possibly even serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces,” she says. “That’s something that I’ve also asked staff to explore in my motion as well. I understand [current members of the CAF] may not be eligible for veteran’s plates so if there’s a way we can move forward in our own process, as a city, to look at making this happen.”

The idea is broad and she admits there are still a lot of questions being considered by staff. Although the goal is to have this implemented by next November, she’s hoping, if approved, it could be put in place long before that.

“I understand when our staff undertake work to explore and look at best processes, it does take them some time to do that. I’ve already done some of the research and have shared that in my motion. For instance, Surrey, I understand, currently does this and hasn’t noticed significant losses in revenue but I’m sure that our staff will have some research to do and we’ll have to consider different processes or systems,” she says. “Will this mean registering your license plate ahead of time with the City of Vancouver if you’re not a veteran but you’re a serving member? If serving members are eligible? Will it mean that a veteran has to be driving the vehicle at the time? These are all very good questions that I look to our staff… to bring back to us with a policy.”

The final staff report is due by October 2020 and De Genova clarifies the idea is good to go – the exploration part for staff is just to see how this would work.

“The resolution clearly states we would be doing this. There would be free parking offered to veterans. It’s as to how we go about making that happen that I really look to our staff, who are experts in these fields, to make sure that this provides a process that’s seamless, that there is communication with the veteran community and making sure those veterans know what they are eligible for, where they can park and for the length of times they’re allowed to park their vehicles.”