Some things just need to be said...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Pay Parking a bust in BC Parks

"Confidential government documents released to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request shows that a BC government decision to put parking meters into BC’s provincial parks has been beset by a series of escalating problems. "

The BC Liberal Government's attempt at making us all pay for the use of parks we already paid for is turning into a comedy of errors and unfortunately additional costs. The Western Canada Wilderness Committee has released a series of government emails that go on at length about the government's policy of installing parking meters and their upkeep.

The new parking meters were installed in 2003. The government in its effort to support of NAFTA (we're they thinking the Americans would say hey, buying meters from the USA will gain BC support on softwood lumber?) bought the meters from an Americaqn company at a cost of 1.2 million dollars. (Can someone see if Rich Coleman, BC Forests Minister was in on this decision?)

The first year the government took in just around 700,000 dollars in revenue from the meters. No where new the cost of the meters but then I also understand the business part here, by the second year you will have paid for them and after that its free money. Only a couple things wrong with the government business plan though.
"Last week I signed off an enormous budget variance report to the negative. I feel nothing but sympathy and frustration on this subject." A senior government official commenting to a regional park manager.

The government plan did not take into account lower user numbers of parks due to the fee, or that those willing to pay the fee thought it was too high. The next thing they did not consider was the cost of maitenance and the repairs needed due to vandalism. The cost and time of Government employee's was not taken into consideration either.
"They are designed for U.S. coins. Bottom line: Lexis has sold us machines with coin mechanisms that are not compatible with our currency." - a government employee wrote in an email,

The BC Liberals of course are are staying the course here. Perhaps they will slowly and quietly start removing them. That would at least be the smart thing for them to consider. Popular parks here in the Okanagan near Kelowna and of course the ever popular French Beach near Victoria were paid for by all of us and the BC Liberal government's ill thought out policy to squeeze more tax dollars from us has failed.

The last insult to BC residents is the purchase of the meters from an American company. Surely we have a BC or Canadian company that thrives on taking our coins!

See related story in the Globe and Mail: Open season on parking meters

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