After mass confusion over paid parking on the holiday Monday following Canada Day, Saskatoon’s city administration is working on a long-term fix to make sure it never happens again.
The city had publicly announced ahead of the long weekend that paid parking would be in effect on July 2, a holiday for most in lieu of Canada Day being on a Sunday.
However, many people didn’t pay for parking and there were several complaints made to the city over tickets issued throughout the day. The city announced they would refund everyone’s parking as a “courtesy.”
The same confusion and refund happened in January 2017, when New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday.
“Normally it’s not a particular problem, but it crops up every two years or so depending on the actual date (of holidays),” said Randy Grauer, general manager of community services.
Current traffic bylaws dictate free parking on actual holidays, but it doesn’t extend the courtesy to provincial and federal stat holidays that fall after the celebrated day.
Grauer noted if Canada Day were to fall on any other day of the week, that day would see free parking.
He said in order to eliminate future problems, his department is working on drafting an amendment to the traffic bylaw, which would designate Monday stats as “civic holidays.”
The hope is to bring the amendment before council for approval before the next Sunday holiday — Remembrance Day on Nov. 11.
“I’m a motivated individual to eliminate the confusion,” Grauer said.
“The whole idea is we want people to come downtown, to come to our business areas.”
However, an issue they may have to work out is what happens when the actual holiday falls on a Saturday — a normally paid parking day — but people get Friday off work as compensation.
“People’s perception is that the parking should be free on the day that they’re actually experiencing the stat in terms of no work,” Ward 1 Coun. Darren Hill said. “How do you determine which day is the free parking? People will be confused either way.”