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'A little bit harsh': Fee increases for residential parking permits not sitting well with Calgarians


Some Calgarians are expressing concerns over the city's new pay structure for residential parking permits.

In a recent email to some residents, the Calgary Parking Authority said, "You are receiving this email as a result of the policy changes to the residential parking permit program that were approved by council in January 2021, following two years of engagement with Calgarians. The revised program aims to increase street-use efficiency and fairness, support businesses and be better positioned for long-term sustainability."

According to the city's website, residents of a "ground-oriented dwelling" will need a residential parking permit and will be on the hook for $50 per year for a first permit, $75 per year for a second permit and $125 per year for a third permit.

There is also a "select permit" for those living in small multi-residential buildings and larger ones built before 1945, who will pay $75 per year.

And a "market permit" for those living in large multi-residential buildings built after 1945, who will pay $150 per month if it's city centre, $100 per month if it's inner city or $75 per month if it's suburbs.

A low-income permit priced at $6.25 per month is available for the latter tier.

Chris Blaschuk, manager of the Calgary Parking Authority, says the city came up with the fee structure in 2020.

"The fee schedule is designed to be revenue-neutral and cover the costs of the program," he said.

"Revenues from parking are generally returned to the city to fund different initiatives and priorities of city council."

He says there are residential parking zones all over the city, typically around where there is a concentration of traffic at certain times of day, near LRT stations, hospitals, universities and within communities in the inner city.

"It really gives them priority access to the parking in areas where there's lots of parking congestion," he said.

"And that certainly is maintained with the changes to the program. We're recovering the fee directly from those users rather than subsidizing it from the balance of the parking program."

Eric Winter has lived in the southeast community of Auburn Bay for eight years and doesn't like it.

He's retired and living on a fixed income.

"Now, you have to pay for all of that," he said.

"You have to pay for the car, you have to pay for visitor parking on top of that."

Winter says the visitor permits also cost $75 each and the permit system was brought into his neighbourhood when the South Health Campus opened.

"So it was people that are going to visit the hospital and they take up all the street parking and then you can't park anywhere except blocks away from here," he said.

"That's why they put the permit parking into effect."

Kae Rieger and Patrick Dumas live in the community of Mission and say it's always a challenge to park.

"I work early in the morning," Dumas said.

"So I kind of luck out that I'm home by 10:30 or 11, so usually once I park, I don't move and I just walk around here to get my stuff but yeah, I do get a lot of anxiety with losing a parking spot."

Rieger doesn't like paying more for something that was free and questions where the revenue for the permits will end up.

"Paying extra when you already pay so much to live down here, it's a little bit harsh," she said.

"In the summer, especially when it comes to parking near the river, it gets impossible to do anything. We choose to not do certain things in order to just, like, keep the spot."

The city says any current permits expiring between May 23 and Sept. 30, will automatically be extended until Sept. 30 and there is no need to renew at this time.

Starting Aug. 1, residents may be able to renew or apply for and purchase a parking permit at the new fee structure.

You can learn more about the residential parking permit program at Top Stories

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