Red flags raised as paid visitor parking installed in several apartment buildings

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The municipal by-law allowing private owners to charge for parking dates back to 1968

Several residential buildings in the city have started charging for the use of visitor parking spaces, raising concerns about the impact on residents and service providers, as well as additional spending for those using the spaces in the middle. pandemic.

“This is a seizure of money,” said Danielle, who lives in one of those buildings on Willow Road. “People probably don’t have a lot of disposable income, that’s just the nature of renting.”

Danielle asked that her last name not be used for fear it could lead to retaliation.

GuelphToday has visited several apartment buildings throughout the city and found paid parking spaces for visitors in many of them – older and newer – with various owners and / or management companies.

In each case, visitor parking must be paid for through the use of smartphone apps and costs up to $ 12 for a day.

Attempts to reach the owners have generally failed, although one noted that the move followed a change of ownership last fall. She declined to comment on what prompted the decision or to provide her name.

While paid visitor parking in apartment buildings appears to be relatively new to Guelph, reports indicate it is happening in municipalities across the province.

It has been allowed in Guelph since 1968, although previously the tactic was only used in commercial complexes such as medical buildings and hotels, as well as in the hospital, explained Doug Godfrey, director of operations. from the city.

“The rules are set by the owners themselves,” he said, noting that some use a permit system or gates, while others have parking meters or use an app to collect payment.

When it comes to enforcing paid parking rules for visitors, landowners need the proper business permit, Godfrey said, and can issue official City of Guelph tickets.

“People who receive the ticket could challenge it in the same way as any other ticket issued by the city,” he said, noting that the city receives funds generated by the ticket office while the owner collects the fee. parking.

“There are a lot of people who struggle to pay rent, let alone parking,” commented Coun. Phil Allt, who was surprised to learn that this was happening in many apartment buildings. “You can’t assume that a visitor has more money than someone on a fixed income. “

“This is one more thing that people need to tackle,” said Danielle, who, like Allt, is concerned about the impact on older people in particular.

“I imagine that if they have grandchildren or people who are visiting, I feel like they will be the least likely to want people to incur these costs,” she continued. “They won’t want their grandchildren paying $ 6 to visit them. “

Mayor Cam Guthrie said he first heard about paid parking spaces for visitors to Guelph on Monday, but acknowledged that there is nothing the city could do to address people’s concerns about the practice.

“It’s, at the end of the day, a private arrangement. It has nothing to do with the involvement of the city, ”he said.

“I don’t like the rules changing halfway, so I feel for all tenants who may be charged new fees, especially during this time, but this is something that needs to be worked out directly between the tenant and the owner or tenant and the owner managing the building.

Allt questions the impact this will have on service providers and volunteers who often visit apartment buildings to deliver meals etc.

“There are all kinds of people entering these buildings,” he said. “I would have been pretty annoyed if I delivered food… to go out to find out I had a ticket.” “


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