A budget filled with loonies

It might have seemed a little odd to some that in Friday’s edition of the Nelson Star we chose to focus the City of Nelson’s budget story on parking meters. A multi-million dollar annual puzzle and we highlight an item counted in quarters and loonies.

It might have seemed a little odd to some that in Friday’s edition of the Nelson Star we chose to focus the City of Nelson’s budget story on parking meters. A multi-million dollar annual puzzle and we highlight an item counted in quarters and loonies.

Parking is a big deal in Nelson’s downtown. The beauty and charm of our core comes with quirks most communities our size don’t invest much time on. Venture downtown on any Friday afternoon — winter or summer — and you will get a pretty good taste of the parking predicament.

And as much as we pride ourselves on being outdoorsy and environmentally sensitive, it’s clear from the daily traffic flow on Nelson’s streets that this area loves its fossil fuel burning transportation as much as every other community. We’re far from Los Angeles, but the geography and make-up of Greater Nelson makes driving an important part of our culture.

Being that it’s not difficult to find customers to plug downtown meters, it should come as no surprise to see councillors wringing their hands. Faced with more financial pressures than in recent memory, City Hall is seriously considering doubling what drivers pay to park in the downtown.

Driving has quickly become a luxury prone to yet more sin taxes. Want to drive a big truck, pay more gas tax to the province. Want to park your clunker in the downtown, better bring a handful of loonies.

The proposal to double the meter fees — thus bringing in an estimated extra $300,000 — is sure to provoke the ire of those who frequent the downtown. Business owners will worry the hike will act as a deterrent and those who frequent the meter spots will be upset that the city is diving further into their pockets.

Unfortunately city council is running out of options. We already pay steep property taxes for the privilege of living here. If we want to maintain our services and improve our infrastructure something has to give. In this case the giving will come one loonie at a time.