Hamilton City Hall Credit: Joey Coleman

Administration of Christmas Free Parking

The City of Hamilton is looking to review the procedures and the work involved in the free Christmas season parking program for Hamilton’s business improvement areas.

Amanda Mcilveen, Manager, Parking Operations, says the present process of manually changing parking metres is an “operational challenge” because it takes “four or five staff members off the road and off their regular duties” to insert blockers into metres.

The process takes up to 10 days to install, and another 10 days to remove, Mcilveen stated.

This “results in an additional 10 days worth of free parking in some BIA areas.”

Mcilveen asked the staff of Hamilton’s various BIAs for feedback on how to manage the over 20-year-old program going forward.

Among the suggestions is that BIA staff be responsible for bagging parking metres during the month of December.

BIA staff expressed concerns regarding assigning the work to them, many of the BIAs only have one staff member, often part-time, and some do not have their own staff members.

The City noted that over half of on-street parking transactions are now completed using mobile applications.

BIA representatives say they want the City to ensure the mobile application does not take payments during the free parking period.

Susie Braithwaite, Executive Director of the International Village BIA in Downtown Hamilton, stated “customers were super frustrated that they didn’t realize that the free parking program was happening” this past year using the mobile app.

Tracy MacKinnon, Executive Director of the Westdale BIA used high-quality stickers on the metre. “We’ve sourced some outdoor, waterproof, high-quality labels and put them on and poof, our problems went away instantly.”

City staff state because the metres are City assets, the BIAs cannot source their own stickers.

“We’re glad to be here in March,” stated the City’s Director of Transportation Planning and Parking Brian Hollingworth. “We don’t have a gun to our heads. We got a little bit of time.”

“I’m quite excited about the two-way dialogue on how we make this work for everyone,” he stated.

The City and BIAs will discuss the matter further in the coming months before bringing changes forward before Christmas.

Open Meeting Requirements for Individual BIA Boards

Business Improvement Areas are municipal boards under the Municipal Act and must comply with open meeting requirements, the staff of the various BIAs were reminded during the meeting.

As one of the municipalities with one of the worse transparency records in Ontario, the City of Hamilton’s processes are under review.

The City will be posting notice of all BIA Board of Director meetings in the coming months.

BIAs must livestream their meetings, and if they hold in-person meetings, these meetings must be open to the public.

The BIA Advisory Committee lost quorum before they could complete the meeting.

The meeting video can be viewed on YouTube here.

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