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Marketplace pay parking now in effect

Charge for second hour took effect July 24


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Pay parking in Marketplace took effect on July 24.

Under the new system, drivers are given one free hour but must pay a fee if they wish to stay a second.

The system was rolled out a couple days later than planned, fastPark sales manager Jim Watts said. He added that staff members were onsite to help parkers adjust to the change.

"We had a few technology issues, but we're launching today," Watts said on July 24.

"Today, we have staff in the lot next to the meters just helping people through the process, showing them how it works. We're doing that rather than parking enforcement."

Thirty-minute, storefront parking remains free.

Those parking for longer than 30 minutes must register their license plate number through the Passport Canada app or at (Zone 4020) or at the meters in Marketplace. Those paying for a second hour can do so through the app or Passport Canada website for $2 plus a 35-cent app fee or at the meter for $3. The meter allows one session of free parking every 12 hours.

Watts, noting 80 per cent of drivers park for less than an hour and will not have to pay, said the rationale behind the change is to encourage greater turnover during peak hours.

"The lot was full all the time and the rest of the village is pay parking, so we're the only free parking available in the village," Watts said.

"You try to get in there at lunchtime to pick something up and it's not easy. Our goal is to make it easier to get a spot to park."

Pointing out that some other lots, like at Lost Lake, only have enforcement during busier seasons, some online comments wondered if such a system would make sense for Marketplace. Watts, however, said there isn't much difference in peak volume in shoulder season than in the middle of summer because it's primarily locals parking in the lot.

"We found that we don't really have a slow season anymore," he noted.

"A lot of who we get is local traffic, so it doesn't really vary through the season."