Council approves interim solution for free parking, revisit issue in August

By Robert Washburn

In an effort to meet deadlines and dampen council critics, Councillor Miriam Mutton introduced a series of compromises Monday night to deal with free parking passes.

Following a series of recommendations from the town’s parking committee to ban all free parking passes, including town staff, Mutton came back with an interim set of motions allowing fewer free passes and some strict controls on the others to be distributed.

Council approved a reduced number of parking passes to the Cobourg Lawn Bowling Club, giving them 65 to cover spaces in the immediate area for this season only.

Residents along Queen and Charles Streets will get one pass each. If there is undue hardship, a second pass will be issued.

The marina free passes will remain the same, allowing those who rent births to get a free pass, along with those who use the launch ramp for the day. The dragon boat club will receive one free pass to go with its slip.

The town staff free passes were also left untouched. The parking committee wanted the town to pay, but Mutton said the 2011 budget was already set. However, it will be part of future budget deliberations.

The beach volleyball, lifeguards, senior in the Market Building and art gallery were not dealt with during Monday night’s meeting

Concerns were raised over the nearly 1,000 free parking passes given to residents and organization around town.

Manager of Engineering Teresa Behan said the passes are valued at $180 per year. Day passes cost $15 per month, while single day passes cost $5.

The revenue parking passes generated were destined for the parking reserve fund, according to the recommendations by the parking committee.

“There are those on council who are concerned about what that actually means,” Mutton said.

The parking reserve is meant to hold funds for parking lot improvements and purchasing property to creating parking spaces in the future.

However, last week Deputy Mayor Stan Frost said he would like to look at ways to get the parking funds into the general revenue stream as a means of keeping taxes down.

Town staff will produce a full report for council by August when budget deliberations are beginning. Mutton said the parking committee’s recommendations will be reconsidered at that time.