Parking over people, College Ward vs. Heron Gate

Minto wants to be able to charge for visitor parking at its residential rental buildings. In fact, they’ve already started doing so, and a lot of people aren’t happy, including College Ward councillor Rick Chiarelli.

This issue came up last year and, somehow, is back in the news. Buildings that used to have free visitor parking (and, thus, abused visitor parking) now see a fee of $1 per hour.

Look, this kind of sucks for tenants. They rented in a building with free visitor parking and, quite possibly, considered it one of the amenities that drew them to that building. Landlords changing things willy-nilly is never particularly good.

However, this hardly seems like an unreasonable change. $1 per hour is pretty cheap parking, and they say there’s a drop-off/pick-up loading zone, and that they won’t charge caregivers. So, yeah, some necessary accommodations are being made.

(This is far more reasonable than the tenant who complained that their parents were visiting for 15 days and had to pay for each day. Visitor parking isn’t supposed to be for long-term parking or extended stays.)

Despite all this reasonableness, Chiarelli wants it to stop, and he wants to bring the weight of the city against Minto. This is pretty dumb, but I’m not really here to argue this point, right now.

(Okay, here’s my solution: minor changes to visitor parking prices have to be handled the same way rental increases are, in terms of warning and in terms of cost-of-living increases. Starting off changing the cost to a dollar seems fine.)

No, I think there’s a bigger issue here.

Timbercreek is about to evict hundreds of people in Heron Gate so that they can tear down their homes and build something more profitable. They’ve neglected these buildings for the past bunch of years and now claim there’s no way to save them.

Mayor Jim Watson and Alta Vista councillor Jean Cloutier have lamented the displacement, but have also thrown their hands in the air, declaring there’s nothing they can do.

So, you see, we have civic leaders who get more upset about losing free parking than about the eviction of hundreds of mostly marginalized people.

The current city council is more concerned about homes for cars than homes for people.

Now, maybe city council won’t pass any silly motion Chiarelli concocts. Maybe council will let a landlord charge for visitor parking. I dunno, but over and over again, we see the city prioritizing parking, ensuring there’s somewhere to put cars.

This is the second round of evictions by Timbercreek in the Heron Gate community, and it’s the second time the city has offered no protection to these people.

If only they were cars, then maybe our councillors would care.

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