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Hundreds sign petition to stop parking fees at St. Mary’s University

A stock photo of a parking lot. (Unsplash/Gerrie van der Walt) A stock photo of a parking lot. (Unsplash/Gerrie van der Walt)

A student at St. Mary’s University in Calgary has started a petition to stop the school from charging parking fees this fall.

Marina Campbell says free parking has been a selling point for the school.

"A sudden decision to charge for parking threatens to add unexpected financial stress for students," the petition states.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 430 people had signed.

"We appeal to the university administration to reconsider this decision and continue the provision of free parking," Campbell says.

Starting Sept. 1, drivers will have to pay $7 a day, $70 a month or $700 a year.

That is about $280 per semester for the monthly rate.

By comparison, the University of Calgary ranges from $123 to $660 per semester, and Mount Royal University ranges from $395 to $600 per semester.

"This decision was not taken lightly, as we understand that nobody likes increasing costs," the St. Mary’s website states.

The university says it is implementing paid parking for several reasons, including covering maintenance costs of parking facilities, which are about $60,000 per year and come out of tuition.

The parking fees will also provide an additional revenue stream to balance the budget.

"There is a significant paving project taking place during the summer of 2024," the St. Mary’s website reads.

"With the implementation of paid parking on the St. Mary’s campus, we will no longer have to utilize tuition revenue to cover parking lot maintenance and upkeep."

Parking fees were outlined in the 2024/25 budget and approved by the Board of Governors in April 2024.

Later on Tuesday, Campbell provided CTV News with a statement via email:

"The main motivation behind me fighting this is because they did not take into consideration the student body's opinion. The other reason why is because they announced the new implementation of paid parking through a by-subscribe email only that is not sent to all students and only now, after the petition has been live for just under a week, announced it on their Instagram page and updates on the website, still not sending a mass email out to all students," she said.

"The school's reaction to this has been poor as they have begun ignoring comments on Instagram to the point of disabling the comment section on their newest post that talks about the parking fees they've put in place for the 2024 fall semester.

"I have also had them ignore any of my requests to be signed up to the email list as well as requesting to follow me on Instagram, which I felt was an intimidation tactic. Their attitude with disabling comments and not responding to students' concerns seems like they are trying to sweep the issue under the rug and not speak on the student body's voiced concerns." Top Stories

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