The city will soon no longer charge fees for accessible parking spots located in municipal lots in the downtown core.
Responding to a request from the city’s accessibility committee, councillors agreed to waive parking fees for vehicles with accessible parking permits during a committee of the whole meeting on Monday.
That move will create 31 new free accessible parking spots in the Market Centre Parkade, at city hall and other city-owned lots.
Currently, there are 17 free accessible street parking spots in the downtown core.
The request to add more came to council because library patrons with mobility issues find themselves forced to pay for parking should the single accessible spot outside the Colborne Street branch be taken, said accessibility committee chair Linda Hunt.
“The committee is of the opinion that there is a lack of accessible parking – certainly free parking – in the downtown core,” Hunt told councillors.
Councillors were supportive of the change as a way to level the playing field for drivers with disabilities, though city staff acknowledged that removing paid parking spots would mean a loss of revenue.
To ensure that the free spots are not abused, Coun. Larry Kings moved to have the bylaw number clearly displayed on signs, with a phone number for drivers to report improperly parked vehicles.