A pilot parking program will seek relief for charities or nonprofits at fundraising events in riverside parks with paid parking
Parking tickets issued to attendees at a charity fundraising event have prompted the council to review its paid parking rules for riverside parks and ask staff if relief can be given to people who attend fundraisers.
Tasked with creating a plan with exceptions for paid parking, staff returned to the July 18 council meeting with a pilot project proposal.
Staff recommended a case-by-case approach to parking relief and suggested the best way to handle approval was to use the city’s existing event permit process and the Recreation and next year’s community grants. Indeed, staff recommended treating free and discounted parking as an in-kind donation to the charity and fundraising event.
The Board gave its unanimous support to the project at the July 18 meeting.
Under the pilot, charities and fundraisers can apply for up to 10 free parking permits for event organizers for the period requested to set up, run the event and clean it up. .
The city could also provide a 50% discount code for the duration of the event up to one day, allowing people to pay for parking as usual with a smartphone and the HotSpot app, but at a discounted rate. .
A smartphone would be required to benefit from this reduction.
Staff said the 50% reduction recognizes that event parking takes away available parking for residents and reduces budget revenue for non-residents. A discount code could also be abused if shared with non-participating visitors who are not attending the event.
Collingwood residents can park for free at waterfront parks by getting an annual pass through the HotSpot app or through City Hall.
The July 18 staff report also noted that event organizers would be encouraged to use other park facilities like Harbourview Park where parking is free.
A reduced and/or free parking pass reduces the amount of revenue the city collects from its paid parking program, but staff could not estimate the impact this would have.
The staff, however, were supportive of the idea of sacrificing revenue for a good cause.
“Local charities are an integral part of the community and requiring people who attend these events to pay for parking may place an undue financial burden on the fundraising activities and initiatives of these vital groups,” the report said. Staff.