Quartier Vanier

Quartier Vanier

January 14, 2008 21:03 ET

Ottawa's Business Improvement Areas Take a Stand

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 14, 2008) - Ottawa's Business Improvement Areas are collectively taking a stand against Council's decision to raise parking rates and extend paid on-street parking hours into the evenings.

The news of Council's decision was very disappointing for BIA's especially those who represent commercial districts in the downtown core.

Gerry LePage of the Bank Street BIA states, "Without question, the punitive measures adopted by Council are ostensibly prejudicial towards businesses located in commercial areas and especially those in the downtown core. This will have an extremely negative economic impact on our business members"

Ottawa's BIA's are wondering what happened to the public consultation process? The Business Advisory Committee was never consulted to gain their input and guidance nor was the broader community.

"This decision not only affects the downtown core and its business members, but affects every resident in Ottawa from those who shop and dine in the downtown to those who attend church services, and utilize community recreation centres." says Jasna Jennings of the ByWard Market BIA.

Ottawa's BIA's are supporting a motion by Councillors Doucet and Leadman that will be presented at Wednesday's Transportation Committee which recommends that the increases in the parking rates and hours be deferred until the City develops a City wide parking policy that is fair and equitable for all; a policy that would be developed through proper consultation with the community.

Suzanne Valiquet of Quartier Vanier specifies: "A parking policy is not a revenue policy - parking is a service to businesses and patrons - not an indirect tax grab for other general municipal services."

Lori Mellor of Preston Street assures: "The business community would be happy to have a dialogue with the Mayor and Council on better ways to ease the City's budget woes...if only we are asked. Instead, we are being walloped with this punitive new tax on our patrons and residents!"

Peggy DuCharme of the Downtown Rideau BIA says, "It's ironic that the city has decided to charge the public more for parking, when their BIA has repeatedly been denied on-street parking on Rideau Street and side streets that would be new revenue for the city's parking program". DuCharme further notes that the city in tandem to this decision, has also pulled back evening transit service in the core. The combination of these decisions will not only affect retailers, but significantly negatively impact cultural, entertainment, dining and residential uses whose clientele or visitors rely on evening parking when transit is not available or not an option for some demographics.

BIA's operating outside of the downtown core are sympathetic and will join in the effort to fight for amendments and enhancements to the parking meter decision for the best possible outcome for Ottawa businesses.

Ottawa's BIA's are asking residents who object to this cash grab by the City to visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/mpmi123/petition.html and fill in this petition or share your thoughts at http://www.moreparkingmeterincreases.blogspot.com/. More than 800 residents have signed the petition since Saturday.

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