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Downtown Penticton BIA rents parking lot so they can offer free parking

The hope is the 2 hour free parking will encourage people to shop, dine during off-season
Amber Belcourt , Downtown Penticton BIA communications manager stands in the 200 Block Backstreet Blvd parking lot they have rented to offer free 2 hour parking from November to April. (Submitted)

Downtown Penticton has rented a downtown parking lot so they can offer free parking during the off-season.

Starting on Nov. 1, Downtown Penticton BIA will be renting the Braeburn lot at 200 Block Backstreet Blvd. for the next six months and will be opening it up to visitors to park for free for the first two hours of their visit downtown.

Downtown Penticton BIA understands the parking challenges in the downtown and wanted to create a way for more people to visit the area to support local businesses during the off-season, said Amber Belcourt communications and promotions manager for the DPBIA.

TheCity agreed to let the BIA rent the Braeburn lot for six months. The BIA is hoping this will encourage more people to explore the area and discover the incredible businesses operating downtown, Belcourt added.

Visitors will still need to enter their license plates into the machine, but now the first two hours will be free. If visitors wish to park longer, the $2 hourly rate will apply for additional hours, up to the maximum allowed time. The program will run from Nov. 1, to April 30, 2023.

In 2021, city council brought in pay parking downtown. Most businesses as well as the DPBIA came out against the pay parking stations, saying businesses were already hurting from COVID restrictions and closures and this would deter people from coming to shop.

A petition against the new pay parking in downtown Penticton topped over 500 signatures in just two days last June. The petition was sent to the mayor and council.

READ MORE: Petition tops 500 in just 2 days against pay parking in downtown

In the end, the city paid $286k for the installation of the 160 parking metres and 19 pay machines according to the city’s then general manager of finance Jim Bauer, with some of the new equipment replacing previous meters and pay stations.

That was $100,000 over budget.

READ MORE: Penticton parking meters $98k over budget amid revenue slump

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Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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