Free Cornwall two-hour parking in place until year’s end

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

CORNWALL – Downtown Cornwall shoppers will still be getting a break with two free hours of parking per day until the end of the year.

City council voted Monday night to continue the practice and review it during the first council meeting in January 2021.

The city started with around-the-clock free parking at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March and then rolled it back to two hours of free parking per day in June.

Many councillors Monday night did not support administration’s insistence that full paid parking be reinstated.

At the suggestion by Coun. Glen Grant of doing away with paid parking entirely, Planning General Manager Mark Boileau said there would always be a cost with enforcement to ensure drivers aren’t squatting in parking spots all day.

As well, the city has also recently spent $130,000 on automated parking machines and wireless payment options – money down the drain if the city pulled the plug on paid parking.

The city is projecting it will lose about $310,000 by year end. While parking is supposed to be self-sustaining program, with only $120,000 in a rainy day account, the deficit would have to be made up somewhere – likely from taxpayers.

The city had budgeted to collect nearly $600,000 this year from its parking program. So far, it has only collected just over $182,000.