Standalone parking meters will be quickly replaced after City of Kelowna councillors amended the Financial Plan on July 15, 2019, in the wake of ongoing vandalism. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

Parking meters, be gone: Kelowna city staff

Council amends financial plan to quickly replace standalone meters in wake of ongoing vandalism

Standalone parking meters get vandalized, that’s why the City of Kelowna has agreed to amend the financial plan to accelerate the rate of replacing meters with pay stations.

But the additional budget request of $370,000 this fall should have minimal impact on the downtown reserve forecast, a staff report reads, as the it was already accounted for in the Parking Services 2020 provisional capital budget request.

Earlier this month, the city’s parking coordinator reported approximately 85 meters were vandalized over the Canada Day long weekend, alone.

“In about three months, the problem has escalated with (the tops of) single meters being smashed off, or (the entire meter) being ripped right from the ground,” Dave Duncan said.

READ MORE: Kelowna Mounties look for meter beater

READ MORE: Keep your coins parking in Kelowna to go change free

On March 3, 300 parking meters around the downtown core were damaged and drained of change.

“It’s frustrating because it feels like we are always having maintenance workers run out to fix the meters when (the workers) could be doing other things with their time,” Duncan said.

Recommendation No. 9 of the 12 updates to the downtown parking plan suggested a traffic bylaw be updated to increase the fine amount for individuals caught tampering with parking meters. Currently the fine is $100, but city staff is told council on Monday they are pushing for the maximum fine of $500.

Coun. Maxine DeHart asked if anyone has ever been slapped with the fines and city staff said they only knew of a few arrests that were made following vandalism.

“We’ve accelerated installation of these pay stations as a result of ongoing vandalism of single coin meters, which resulted in over $50,000 in damage this year,” Duncan explained.

The pay stations that are quickly replacing all single meters accept cash and credit—insert and tap—and can be topped up with the PayByPhone mobile app option. All standalone meters are expected to be replaced by pay stations by spring of 2020.

READ MORE: More meter beaters on the loose in Kelowna

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