Victoria council seeks to offset looming tax increase with parking fee hike

Victoria council seeks to offset looming tax increase with parking fee hike

Parking in downtown Victoria could get a lot more expensive as the City of Victoria drafts an approval for an increase in fees for both streets and parkades.

Victoria city council wants to increase parking revenue by over $1.9 million in order to limit property tax increases to no more than the inflation rate.

“There’s a slight increase that’s been proposed,” said Mayor Marianne Alto. “That means that we’ll actually be adding 50 cents an hour to both of those particular modes of parking and also extending the time when that’s applied to 7 o’clock for both on-street and for parkade parking.”

The proposed parking rate increase would include a 50-cent hike in on-street parking Monday to Saturday, extending hours drivers are charged from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., and a 50-cent increase per hour at the city’s five downtown parkades.

Alto says the measures are being tabled to offset an upcoming rise in property taxes, which will go up by 6.9 per cent to compensate for inflation — down from the nine per cent increase owners would have seen without the additional revenue, reported in an earlier draft of the plan.

“Inflation, although high, is at least something that is understandable by the public and it points both to our ability to look at what is essential to provide from a services perspective, but also which acknowledges the very very difficult situation everyone is in around [their] ability to pay,” says Alto.

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But local businesses like Robinson’s Outdoor Store say they will feel the pinch from any parking price hike.

“With all the parking they’re taking away that the city has been doing, it’s been difficult and we do get a lot of complaints about it for sure,” says Robinson’s owner Matt King. “So any increase is not likely good.”

It’s also a move that can affect smaller businesses in the downtown core.

“People want to come down, especially for us as a destination, from all over the South Island and whatnot, but I think if you’re a smaller store and maybe not such a destination, it’s pretty hard,” adds King. “I think you’re going to see a lot more businesses moving out of downtown and maybe moving to Uptown and that sort of thing.”

The parking price increase will move to a public consultation on Thursday.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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