If you drive a commercial vehicle in Victoria prepare to pay a lot more to park in commercial loading zones.
City of Victoria staff are proposing hefty increases for commercial parking permits following a provincial decision to scrap a decades-old program.
Since 1987, the Union of BC Municipalities has administered the Commercial Vehicle Licensing program which offers commercial parking permits to drivers across the province. The stickers cost between $25 to $40 a year and allow drivers of commercial vehicles to park in commercial parking zones.
According to the UBCM, the program required significant administration without financial payoff.
With the UBCM no longer administering the program, Victoria staff is recommending council tweak its commercial parking rules as well as increase the cost of a parking permit from $100 to $300 a year depending on the vehicle size.
“Let me just tell you it’s a big surprise to us,” said Al Hasham with Maximum Courier which has a fleet of 60 vehicles that operate throughout Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
Hasham fears that with the removal of one, province-wide parking permit, his company along with others will now be forced to buy multiple permits for every city his company operates in.
“I can assure you that each municipality is going to come up with their own program meaning we’re going to have to buy separate decals from every single municipality,” he said calling the move a “cash grab” by local governments.
Hasham says the change could cost him $40-thousand dollars a year.
In addition to the increase in cost, Victoria staff recommend the city adopt a two-tier permit structure based on vehicle size. The change would see smaller vehicles no longer be allowed to park in commercial loading zones, just 20-minute loading zones.
City staff say smaller commercial vehicles are using the commercial loading zones, causing larger commercial trucks to double-park and circle blocks waiting for spots to open up.
“We actually have to start valuing the curb properly,” said Fraser Work the city’s Director of Engineering and Public Works.
Other cities are also looking at making changes.
Staff for the District of Saanich say it is reviewing the implications of UBCM’s decision to discontinue administering the commercial permit program.
The District has been in contact with staff at other municipalities in the region to gather information and explore whether there are regional solutions or opportunities.
The city of Vancouver is also making changes to its commercial parking permits.
On Thursday Victoria city council unanimously supported the staff recommendations.