The City of Kelowna has not yet announced a decision as to whether or not it will extend the free parking measures implemented as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of downtown businesses.
Parking has been free in the downtown and South Pandosy areas since March 23 in an effort to assist businesses, currently operating by take-out only methods, in getting more traffic.
That initiative is set to expire on May 31.
As some downtown businesses are set to reopen when some pandemic restrictions are lifted on May 19 and several others have plans in the works, traffic in those areas is expected to increase.
“We’ve noticed over the past couple weeks the usage is definitely increasing,” said Dave Duncan, the city’s parking services manager. “It’s a positive sign. Things are starting to return to whatever the new normal will be.”
The matter will go back before council before the free parking ends — likely for the next meeting on May 25, according to Duncan.
“We’re still working on recommendations,” he said. “It’s probably going to be pretty close to the wire before we make a decision on which direction to go.”
He said information from the provincial government has kept the city on its toes as to what the best course of action is.
While parking is free of charge in the areas, time restrictions are still enforced.
Other municipalities across the valley also implemented free parking. Vernon has extended its free parking until July 1. Penticton’s free parking expires on May 31 as well; they are also yet to make a decision on the program’s extension.
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