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Calgary's residential parking fees are going up, but not as much as first proposed

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The City of Calgary is moving ahead with changes to its residential parking permit program.

In a briefing Wednesday at council’s infrastructure and planning committee, councillors will review the updated plan before its planned implementation in December.

A briefing document prepared for councillors attending the committee meeting shows the city plans to charge fees up to 40 per cent lower than originally planned.

City administration says moving to the Park Plus enforcement system along with the removal of four kilometres of permitted parking spaces in the city has reduced enforcement costs and created efficiencies allowing the city to drop the price but still recover 100 per cent of the program’s $750,000 annual cost.

Earlier this year, the city announced plans to charge households in the residential parking zones to $30 for a first permit, $45 for a second and $75 for a third.

Residents could purchase up to two visitor permits per home at a cost of $45 each.

That plan sparked public outrage, resulting in an online petition, which racked up over 15,000 signatures. The majority of councillors were also opposed.

The most vocal of those was Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot, who believes Calgarians should be allowed to park at least one vehicle on-street near their home free of charge.

“At the end of the day, the entire program is funded through general revenue and any fees that are collected from this program will go into general revenue. So I mean, it's a fee, instead of a tax increase. So it's kind of a hidden tax, essentially,” said Chabot.

“I get looking at cost recovery on some of the additional ones, and having to charge for additional parking requirements, but at least the first one (parking spot), in my opinion, should be free.”

In the briefing paper, city administration rejected that idea, writing, "This would require increases to the second permit ($200 per year) and third permit ($375 per year) and second visitor permit ($200 per year); the cost to multi-permit households would significantly increase.

"As such, these scenarios are not recommended by administration."

City administration is also proposing changes to the market permit fees.

The city defines market permits as being "for residents of eligible large, multi-residential buildings built after 1945, allowing the resident to park within 150 metres of their building."

Most of these permits will be for those living in inner-city high-rises and condos.

The briefing shows city administration wants to lower those fees from $150 per month to $105 per month. Second permits will drop from $100 per month to $50 and third permits to $75.

"The goal of this option is to price permits comparably to off-street parking options while also making good use of curb space," said the briefing report.

"The full uptake of this option will be known once a full cycle of permit renewals has been completed at the end of May 2025."

For inner-city residents like Anthony Wecels, who parks one of his family's two vehicles on the street outside his Mission condo, the new fees are a bitter pill to swallow.

“It's not like we don't have enough on our plate, what with the inflation, we've got the condo fees, we've got the mortgages and everything else, plus the utilities,” said Wecels

“Now, let's tack on an extra 100-plus dollars a month for something that we've been getting for free for the last 20 years that I've lived in the community. It's a cash grab.”

The low-income market permit also drops in price from $6.25 per month to $2.50.

While the city’s infrastructure and planning committee are the first to be briefed on the proposed changes, city administration has included the proposed permit fees as part of the budget adjustments package given to council for its current four-year budget deliberations.

In May, CTV News surveyed cities across Canada to compare the cost of residential parking permits.

At the top end, those paying the market permit in Calgary (now set at $105 per month) even with the proposed changes Calgary will be among the most expensive.

The City of Calgary says it's reviewed all of the residential parking permit costs of a number of Canadian centres.

The highest monthly parking permits are in Toronto ($1,084 per month), Ottawa ($733), Montreal ($484 per month) and Vancouver ($404 per month).

Annual residential parking permit prices:

  •  Halifax $175 (high end) $75 (low end);
  •  Quebec City $120 (high end) $120 (low end);
  •  Montreal $484 (high end) $12 (low end);
  •  Gatineau $84.50 (high end) $84.50 (high end);
  •  Ottawa $733 (high end) $733 (low end);
  •  Kingston $300 (high end) $144 (low end);
  •  Toronto $1,035 (high end) $256 (low end);
  •  Winnipeg $25 (high end ) $25 (low end);
  •  Regina $15 (high end) $15 (low end);
  •  Saskatoon $25 (high end) $15 (low end); and
  •  Vancouver $404 (high end) $52 (low end).

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