A newly implemented $2 per hour parking rate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., including Saturday, in Thunder Bay’s business districts is not sitting well with businesses.
With the support of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, and armed with a petition, Thunder Bay’s Business Improvement Area representatives will attend the June 17 city council meeting to discuss a solution for more parking fee alternatives.
The online petition, created by summer students at the Waterfront District Business Improvement Area, has gathered more than 1,600 signatures as of Tuesday, for the city to add 15 and 30-minute parking options in Thunder Bay business districts. The goal is to collect 2,500 signatures.
Kara Pratt, executive director for the Waterfront District Business Improvement Area, said they will discuss the parking changes with council in what she said is the result of some “overlooked” items and suggestions in the initial consultant’s report, which also includes residential parking issues.
“Paying $2 for an hour’s worth of parking and having no option for something shorter for times when you’re picking up a quick coffee or going into a retailer for a very quick pickup item, it might turn people away,” Pratt said. “There were a few things that were definitely overlooked. We’re looking to add back 15-minute or short-term parking options.”
Pratt added that the Business Improvement Areas are happy that council scheduled the deposition quickly because there was concern that it was going to be delayed.
Charla Robinson, chamber president, called the minimum one-hour fee for parking at all parking meters a “mental barrier” for people.
She said they’ve taken away the 15- and 30-minute options, which, is how many people shop.
“Went you pop over to Waxxed Candle Co. to grab a candle for that baby or wedding shower, then drive over to Janzen’s and pick up your prescription and then you drive across town to JB Evans and grab that outfit that you need, going from business district to business district to do your shopping will cost you $2 every time you go to a meter in a different area,” Robinson said.
“That’s a real barrier to people shopping in these areas and shopping at local businesses because you can park at Walmart for hours on end for free.”
Robinson said the chamber is working with the Business Improvement Areas to advocate to city council to say “this goes too far.”
The chamber is supporting the Business Improvement Areas by adding the petition to its website to gather more signatures. Robinson is also connecting with local businesses for their input on the parking situation, their suggestions and solutions to bring forth to council.

By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 12, 2024 at 10:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Chronicle-Journal   Thunder Bay, Ontario
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