Two groups representing businesses in Charlottetown have issued a joint statement criticizing the city's decision to raise parking fees as of Oct. 1.
Downtown Charlottetown Inc. and the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce issued a news release regarding the fees Wednesday, calling the move a "major deterrent" for their customers. The city had previously announced the planned rate increase in its 2020-21 budget and issued a reminder Tuesday that parking rates are going up. As of Oct. 1, parking meter rates will be $2 an hour and it will cost $1.75 an hour to park in the city's parkades.
"This is not the time to increase parking fees in the downtown," said Downtown Charlottetown executive director Dawn Alan.
“DCI spent the past, many months, working to create consumer confidence, encouraging the community to come back downtown to ‘Support Local’. Small businesses have endured great difficulty and lost revenue during this COVID-19 crisis. We as business organizations and all levels of government need to do all we can to support business as we move into recovery; and in doing so cannot put roadblocks or deterrents in the way."
Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Penny Walsh-McGuire added, "The raised meter rates are a major deterrent for individuals to travel downtown to shop, eat and do business, while additional parking garage fees cause further financial strain for the many local businesses just trying to get by."
DCI had asked after the municipal budget was tabled in April that the city pause rate increases and hold discussion with stakeholders before reconsideration in 2021.
"While these rate changes were part of the city's budget plans in April, economic conditions have changed drastically since this time and the onset of the pandemic.," said Walsh-McGuire. It appears the city decided to proceed with increasing their parking fees without acknowledging our new economic realities or considering the additional cost burden it will have on small local businesses. We urge the city to reverse this decision.”