Ainslee Sessions and Erin Sullivan camp out in front of Vernon City Hall Monday morning in order to get parking passes. (Submitted Photo)

Okanagan businesses camp out for parking passes

Lined up as early as 4 a.m. Monday morning in front of City Hall

More than 20 Vernon residents were lined up, and bundled up in the freezing cold, Monday morning for parking passes.

That’s right, not concert tickets or Vernon Winter Carnival tickets, these people were lined up at City Hall to purchase annual and monthly spots for their vehicles for next year.

First in line was staff from Sanders Medical, prepared with chairs and blankets and hunkered down before the sun was even up.

“We actually got there at 4, and there was already someone else there by 4:15,” said Erin Sullivan, who purchased 10 passes, at $750 a piece, for her staff and herself.

Having a business in downtown Vernon has its benefits, but parking is not one of them, according to Sullivan.

“It is definitely a problem,” she said, noting that there were at least 20-25 people lined up by 8 a.m. before City Hall started selling the passes at 8:30 a.m.

“My husband used to work downtown too and it was an issue.

“There was another lady in line who said she has a parking pass from her employer in the parkade and she was buying another pass because she doesn’t feel safe parking in the parkade,” said Sullivan, who didn’t blame her. “There’s people having sex in there, people shooting up there.”

Customers also “always” complain about a lack of parking.

And with plans to develop the dirt CSB lot by the Elks Lodge, the situation is only going to get worse in the high-demand area.

“There’s going to be even less,” said Sullivan.

Meanwhile the usual City of Vernon response that she’s heard is they are working on it.

The city defends that there are still plenty of passes available and other shorter timeframe spots.

“Although the monthly passes for two of the parking lots sold very quickly this morning, there are still spaces available in the area,” said Christy Poirier, Vernon’s communications and grants manager. “We recognize the other lots may be located further from a destination than desired and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“It’s important to note that the parking passes that were purchased this morning do not take into account daily and weekly parking spaces that will still be available in 2020.”

But the city does recognize that there are parking limitations and is working to develop and promote alternative transportation opportunities with several community partners, including the use of bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and public transit.

There are six surface parking lots downtown and monthly passes for two lots (29th Street lot and transit hub lot) were sold out Monday for 2020. The other four lots (31st Avenue, Railway, 27A, and 33rd Avenue) and the parkade still have spaces available.

This was the first time that yearly passes were available.

Last year, Sullivan and her staff didn’t get there as early and another person bought a bunch of the spots in the lot near her business. She wasn’t going to settle again for parking in the dirt CSB lot and “not to complain,” but walking in high heels through the mud.

“That’s not happening again this year,” she said in her reason for showing up so early.

But it wasn’t so bad, with some friendly neighbours helping to keep the crowd toasty.

“The RCMP and came over and asked us what we were doing and came back with Tim Horton’s coffee for everyone,” said Sullivan.

READ MORE: Dog stolen in Vernon to be reunited with owner


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Doctors dispute need for Salmon Arm urgent and primary care centre

Medical professionals would rather see investment in local Primary Care Network

Plan in works to keep Salmon Arm’s homeless people warm in extreme weather

Advocate aims higher, wants a 24/7 friendship centre operating in city

CSRD’s plan to create economic development society meets resistance

Electoral Area E director wants to withdraw area from the proposal

A Salmon Arm mortgage investment corporation faces BC Securities hearing

Securities commission alleges misrepresentations and false or misleading statements in documents

Salmon Arm prepares for Rogers Hometown Hockey

Businesses and residents encouraged to wear jerseys, show their hockey spirit

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Empty speedboat sinks off Kelowna shore on Okanagan Lake

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Most Read