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Report recommends city axe short-lived free parking on Sundays, holidays

A new report at City Hall recommends axing a short-lived exemption that has allowed Winnipeggers to park for free in certain areas, saying it is having 'undesirable impacts' and losing the city of $130,000 each year.

The city's parking authority made changes in November that allow Winnipeggers to park for free in city-owned off-street parking lots and in the Millennium Library Parkade on holidays and on Sundays.

This change didn't last long. The city is now considering axing the complimentary parking.

Coun. Janice Lukes, chair of Winnipeg's public works committee, said prior to the change, the city had been charging for off-street parking for decades.

This complimentary parking was only due to a clarification issue with the current parking bylaw – one that she says is now being corrected.

"This is an adjustment in the bylaw – an adjustment in the bylaw to now enable the city to clarify the bylaw to enable the city to continue, like it has done for decades and like other cities across Canada do, to charge on Sundays in off-street parking lots," she said.

According to a city report, the bylaw currently exempts all vehicles from having to pay for parking on holidays including Sundays. This includes all on-street parking spaces as well as in city-owned parking lots and the Millennium Library Parkade.

Now the city is looking to amend its parking bylaw. The city report suggests the free holiday and Sunday parking in city-owned parking lots and the Millennium Parkade is having 'undesirable impacts.'

It suggests offering the complimentary parking could cause financial harm to private parking providers near city-owned lots and the Millennium Parkade.

"Furthermore, offering complimentary parking on holidays when special events are taking place Downtown or at The Forks can lead to significant traffic congestion around the Millennium Library Parkade or (a city-owned lot)," the report reads.

It goes on to say that offering the complimentary parking reduces the parking revenue by an estimated $130,000 each year.

Lukes said she is in favour of the change, saying the city already offers free parking on the streets on Sundays and holidays. That wouldn't change, but she said the money generated by the off-street parking revenue is needed.

"The Millennium Library is a perfect example. There's a lot of maintenance to that building, the parkade does generate revenue to help support it," she said. "It has been that (way) forever and eternity."

The city's public works committee is set to discuss the bylaw amendments on June 8, before it goes to city council for final approval. Top Stories

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