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Council sends CAO back to renegotiate parking rates

June 1 deadline quickly approaches for new pay parking regime



Municipal CAO Bill Barratt has been asked to go back to the drawing board to renegotiate parking rates in the day lots.

It is not clear whether that renegotiation, as directed by council will delay the June 1 roll out of pay parking throughout the day lots with a daily rate of $13.50.

"I think the timeline is ambitious and not achievable," said Acting CAO Jan Jansen, at a special council meeting Thursday May 26..

Barratt is in Beijing on official business at the moment.

Jansen also pointed out that changing the June 1 launch will have repercussions for the 2011 municipal budget and staff would need to make the appropriate amendments so as not to put the municipality at risk.

Despite those challenges, four members of council - Councillors Ted Milner, Eckhard Zeidler, Grant Lamont and Acting Mayor Ralph Forsyth - voted to renegotiate the rates.

That's something Whistler Blackcomb is open to, said Doug Forseth, senior vice-president of operations, who is one of the four members of the Parking Lot Operating Committee, but, he cautioned, there are many factors to consider.

"People have to understand though that there's a certain amount of cost involved in this that has to be looked after," said Forseth, after today's meeting. "That's often not talked about. And that's a problem with this discussion is that everyone wants something for free but there are no free lunches here."

Council's debate and action was sparked by a motion from Councillor Ted Milner in response to the announcement that the daily parking rate in the day lots would be $13.50 and that there would be no free parking left.

That rate was recently set by the parking committee, made up of Forseth and Bob Dufour from Whistler Blackcomb, and Barratt and Jansen from the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

At a rate of $13.50, the committee expects to see $1.5 million in revenue from the lots.

With that money, about $300,000 to $400,000 must go to operating costs. A further $500,000 is to go to transit and the rest to repay the capital costs.

"We are not OK with reducing the amount of contribution to transit," said Forseth. "We are not OK with reducing covering the operating costs.

"The other thing that we will not agree to is that this becomes a political football. It was structured to be a business proposition and not something councillors, elected officials, are going to manage because we don't want to put the business of this community in the hands of the politicians, for the reasons that maybe they're making decisions that are politically motivated instead of business motivated overall."

To read more about council's debate stay tuned to the Pique .




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