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Vancouver's brief run of free parking is over

Last Updated Apr 29, 2020 at 7:29 am PDT

FILE - Vancouver has been receiving complaints about too many drivers taking advantage of relaxed parking enforcement during the pandemic. (NEWS 1130) (Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

The City of Vancouver is reinstating paid parking this week

Free parking will remain at hospitals for front-line workers during the pandemic

Councilor Sarah Kirby-Yung people have been abusing free parking by parking all day for free

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — City Council has decided that free parking across the city has run its course – with paid parking being reinstated this week, including meters.

Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung is praising the decision – saying it will help offer some relief when it comes to the city’s financial woes.

“The City of Vancouver has a revenue gap that we need to close and it’s really important, I think, that we don’t forego any revenues. Unnecessarily parking is our third-largest source of revenue, and that equates to about five per cent of the city’s budget,” she says.

She adds others were abusing the system and parking all day for free – leading to additional traffic on the roads.

“At the end of March, the staff took an operational decision to relax parking enforcement across the city. And that was done as a human gesture to support parking availability for frontline workers and hospital workers and what we found is that people weren’t respecting that and the streets are filling up,” she tells NEWS 1130.

Kirby-Yung has been calling for the change, saying the money generated is needed to the city’s dwindling finances.

“The one hand if we’re trying to make sure we have all the revenue coming in so we had out mayor go out and say that the city needs cash and ask for operational grants. We’ve had comments made that we might have to raise property taxes, but I think that we can’t be doing that unless we are prepared to ensure that we are doing everything we can to bring in revenue and not foregoing revenues and money to leave on the table,” she explains.

She says it’s important the city focuses on business working to survive through the pandemic, and people trying to make their next rent payment.

“We need to focus on what the city can do to support them, and if residents and businesses are healthy businesses, then our city will be healthy,” she says.

The city has not announced a date, but the decision will be implemented sometime this week.

Kirby-Yung adds parking will remain free at hospitals to help support front line health care workers.