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Lethbridge city council to vote on increasing parking fines

Lethbridge city council is set to discuss increases to parking fines. Lethbridge city council is set to discuss increases to parking fines.

Lethbridge city council will vote on whether or not to increase parking fines in Lethbridge at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the 2023-2026 operating budget, the City of Lethbridge approved a parking fine increase from $25 to $50 with a $15 reduction if paid within seven days.

But, after pushback from businesses in February, council directed the administration to work with the Downtown Lethbridge BRZ and the Heart of our City Committee to identify possible solutions.

“After the pandemic, people's shopping habits have changed, we are facing an opioid crisis and we got a bike path (that) took away some more parking, we got a playground, Festival Square took more parking and now we want to increase tickets, it's just a lot of things,” said Levi Cox, owner of Catwalk Salon and Spa.

In November, council gave the bylaw first reading with a number of adjustments, including decreasing parking fines from $50 to $40 with a $20 reduction if paid within 10 days in the downtown core and from $25 to $50 for all other offences with an early reduction of $15.

The amended bylaw would also extend the early reduction period from seven days to 10 days.

If the bylaw is approved by council, a number of free parking incentives will be created.

Some of the recommendations from the city’s engagement team include:

  • Provide free parking in the downtown core Monday to Friday until 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. – a change from the current enforcement hours of 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
  • Grace period increasing to seven minutes, up from three minutes currently;
  • Replace all current Zone 2 areas with Zone 3;
  • Provide free downtown core parking initiative days; and
  • Enhanced maintenance program for the kiosks.

“Before we talk about increasing the fines, we need to talk about all the flaws with the parking system, including the app that works half the time,” said Bradley Wynder, owner of Modern Aesthetics Ltd.

“They’re saying at $10 nobody cares about paying for parking because they'll just pay the ticket… no, I think most of us are missing paying the parking because of the flawed system that is at hand.”

The city says the increased fines would result in a $200,000 revenue increase in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The last parking fine increase happened in Lethbridge in 1990.

“The first increase would've put us at higher tickets than Vancouver and Toronto,” Cox said. “This one is more reasonable, but I’m just questioning why and why right now.”

“You can go and shop at any other place in the city – any big box store, any mall – and not pay any parking.”

Council could approve the second and third readings of the bylaw at Tuesday’s meeting.

If approved, the changes take effect on Feb. 1, 2024. Top Stories

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