Council agrees - free December parking will end due to abuse

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2020



You are going to have to pay to park downtown in December – it has been free for the past seven years.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) asked council to end the program – it is no longer delivering what it was delivering to the downtown merchants.

The past two years – the data collected, and it was extensive, indicated that the opportunity to park free during December was lost due to people who would take up the space for the day.

The abuse brought the program to an end.

Shawna Stolte hand to mouth

Councillor cautioned ending the program this year.

Council’s biggest concern was how to spin this. Councilor Stolte who was the chair of the Standing Committee said she didn’t have a problem with ending the program but didn’t think this should be the time to do it.

People have had a lot taken away from them – they are going to think this is just one more thing. It might backfire on us.

The downtown merchants didn’t seem to care. They wanted the program to end. Their feeling was that if people have to pay there will be more churn; parking spaces will become available when a person has finished their shopping.

Right now – there are people who work downtown and leave their car on the street for the day in December because it is free.

Downtown merchants found that they were experiencing a 25% decrease in sales the past two years. From their perspective it was time to end the program.

It is the city that will have to end the program and Councilors felt that the blame would rest on them.
Councillor Galbraith said that messaging is important – this could be spun the wrong way.

Lisa Kearns taking questions

Councillor Kearns wanted everyone to be vert careful with the way they explained the ending of the program.

Councillor Kearns. Ward 2 where most of that downtown business is located was pained when she heard Councillor Bentivegna talk in terms of something being taken away. “Think in terms”, she said “about what we are giving back.”

“Be aware of your language.”

The concern for the Councillors was that they were going to end up with cow paddies on the soles of their shoes.

Council was asked to discontinue December free parking in all downtown parking facilities effective December 1st, 2020.

Mayor Meed Ward loved the idea when it was put in place. She had little to say other than that parking should be seamless – you shouldn’t have to drive around the block a couple of times to find a place.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Council agrees – free December parking will end due to abuse

  • Rob n

    Parking is a huge problem. All that space reserved for cars. Imagine if that space was used for housing.

    Cars are also a huge problem. It would be great to have an LRT, subway or a bus system so we can get away from the expense, to our wallets and the environment, that comes with car ownership.

  • Common sense decision – if free parking is not good for businesses in downtown no free parking.