Kelowna council has approved complimentary on-street parking in support of the Downtown Kelowna Association’s (DKA) Small Shop Saturday initiative.
The dates are Saturday, April 9, and Saturday, Sep. 24. Off-street parking in most downtown areas, city-owned lots, and parkades are currently no-charge on Saturdays between Sept. 16 and May. 14, except for the Water Street boat launch, police services, and city hall parking lot and during special events.
Mayor Colin Basran asked staff about the potential of free transit for such events, noting council previously approved it for Christmas shopping.
“If we’re going to encourage people to drive, which may be a little bit counterintuitive to our environmental goals, are we looking into the possibility of that?”
City Parking Services Manager Dave Duncan indicated staff is looking at other ways to deal with such requests going forward.
“We know there is a better way to do it,” said Duncan. “This was really just trying to help with the pandemic recovery efforts, and it was more or less a one-time request for this year.”
Staff is looking at the possibility of a corporate sponsor. Future changes may include offering a maximum of two hours of complimentary parking per customer, per day rather than a blanket exemption.
Basran added that the bottom line is that council wants to support small shops.
“If we can get more people down there by other means as well, certainly that’s important.”
The total estimated loss of parking revenue resulting from the proposed two-day complimentary parking promotion, and potential impact on the downtown parking reserve is approximately $11,200, based on average downtown on-street revenues of $5,600 a day.