Westboro gets to keep free parking as city rejigs plan

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By Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa Community News

André Schad, who owns a business in the ByWard Market, called foul over free parking in Westboro.

City staff recommended Westboro keep their free parking in a report on a parking management plan for the area presented to the city's transportation committee on April 5.

"I don't know why this is even an issue," Schad said about the decision of whether or not to implement paid parking. "Westboro dwarfs ByWard in terms of non-food retail and parking capacity."

Schad said retailers in the market are leaving for the greener pastures in Westboro.

"Why is Westboro getting a free ride?" he asked.

While the report recommends the status quo in most of Westboro, staff recommended the implement of paid parking on Danforth Avenue.

Under the current parking management plan, the process to change an area to paid parking has to have the support of the area business improvement area, ward councillor and the community association.

The majority of businesses and residents were not for the change.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu took an end run at the issue by attempting to initiate parking fees through a motion, but the attempt fell flat.

Transportation committee chair Keith Egli expressed concern that approval of the motion could open the city up to legal challenges by the affected businesses. The concern was mirrored by city solicitor Rick O'Connor.

Fleury ultimately withdrew his motion.

David Chernushenko also expressed frustration with the city's policy, saying there's confusion because people get ticketed in the Glebe, but can park for free in Ottawa south.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper, who represents the area, said residents and businesses have bought into the existing plan and have spent the better part of a year working within the confines of it.

Leiper said he was open to updating the city's policy on parking fees, but only with proper public consultation.

Leiper said it is important to have a fair parking policy that takes away the councillor and local BIA's opportunity to veto a fee structure.