It’s become more than apparent that elected officials in Canmore and Banff are using traffic issues as an excuse to commodify visitors and pad municipal coffers.
Recent parking initiatives in both communities have resulted in huge revenues and based on recent Outlook articles, those funds will be counted on for years to come. Not only have elected officials said as much, but the outlay in infrastructure such as enforcement personnel, vehicles, uniforms, visual pollution of signage have all escalated in proportion to revenue expectations.
What should be of everyone’s concern though is instead of providing value for service, the parking programs are designed only to maximize revenues. If I make a 10-minute stop, why should I have to pay for one hour?
As structured, if five more people use the same parking spot during peak season I did at 10 minutes each, municipal revenues for that one spot go from $3 to $18 dollars for the six of us using the same spot over that one hour. And then there’s the fine if I’m running late and can’t top up my paid time in time. That’s another revenue generating opportunity.
An equitable system which recognizes visitors as more than just a commodity would involve a cash card system, which allows you to pay for what you use. In Calgary, they have what is called the ParkPlus program. You register your vehicle through an app, you install funds, and as you leave, you stop the app and pay only for the time used.
No disrespect to the business communities in Canmore and Banff, but I won’t pay a one-hour user fee for a 10-minute visit to your business. I know I’m not the only person tired of being used as a municipal ATM.
Dead Man’s Flats