Raising the rates

PADBID upset at downtown parking increase

While the City of Prince Albert is trumpeting its fee increases and spending cuts to help balance the $2 million hole left in the budget, not everyone is jumping for joy.

The plan passed by budget committee Tuesday increases parking meter rates by 25 cents per hour, and the downtown business community is not happy.

Prior to deliberations, Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID) executive director, and former city councillor, Rick Orr, penned a letter to the editor imploring the city to hold off on the increase.

“We had a board meeting yesterday and it was interesting to hear the merchants talk,” Orr told the Herald Wednesday.

“Stacey Colborne from Sentiments Floral is our board chair, and she talked about how people come in for change. Nobody carries change in their pockets anymore.”

Orr’s concerns stretch beyond the mild inconvenience of digging for change. He’s concerned the parking rate increases will discourage people from shopping downtown, arguing it’s like adding a tax on the downtown business owners.

“That has a definite affect on people’s buying decisions, whether they should come downtown or head to a free shopping area such as Cornerstone or the South Hill area,” he said.

“Our merchants are very concerned about the costs of parking downtown. It’s demoralizing to the downtown businesspeople who are investing and employing people. Council seems to continually want to make it unfriendly for customers to come downtown and shop.”

While Mayor Greg Dionne understands Orr’s concern, the city needs the money, and investment will ultimately come back to the neighbourhood.

For more on this story, please see the April 13 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald