We are writing to update residents about proposed changes to the parking fines in HRM.
Most other Canadian cities have vibrant downtowns and main streets while also having higher parking fines. The reason HRM is considering increasing parking penalties is to make sure that the fine is high enough to encourage compliance, while in turn increasing parking spot turnover and providing all residents and visitors fair access to available parking.
What we have heard from businesses is that some people are parking too long, or all day, and that this low turnover makes it difficult for shoppers and people visiting professional services to efficiently navigate the commercial districts. What we hear from residents is that areas near the base, the universities, and the hospitals often see parking all day in time-restricted parking areas. One of the issues that is hurting parking turnover is that, in many cases, it is cheaper to pay the $20.00 fine (if paid within 7 days) than it is to find off-street parking.
We understand that residents were surprised when they heard that Regional Council is considering raising fines from $25 to $50; after all, the first we heard of it was at the Budget Committee on Wednesday! There has been no announcement yet because the details of the final fine structure are not set and will require a bylaw to be adopted by Regional Council. This will not take place until late summer/early fall.
We will ensure that there is public engagement with residents and businesses regarding the parking bylaw before a final decision is made, while also working with staff to adopt technology-enabled parking solutions to allow people to pay for street parking electronically.
While there remains many issues to work out, a fee review will be a good step for business, our downtowns and main streets, and for HRM.
Councillor Sam Austin, District 5
Councillor Tony Mancini, District 6
Councillor Waye Mason, District 7
Councillor Lindell Smith, District 8
Councillor Shawn Cleary, District 9