File Photo

File Photo

Sylvan Lake’s Visitor Pay Parking on budget in 2019, despite cold summer

The money borrowed to implement the program was also paid off with the 2019 revenue

Despite a cool and wet summer, the Town of Sylvan Lake says the visitor pay parking’s net revenue was on budget.

In 2019 the program, which was approved by council in 2017, brought in $144,758.

The cooler weather over the summer did affect the gross revenue, however administration at the Town says the lower number of visitors was balanced with maintenance costs.

Ron Lebsack, director of protective services, said in the warmer months the pay-to-park machines require a large amount of maintenance which isn’t required as much when it is cool and wet.

“We have to clean the machines more in the summer, they often have a lot of bugs and spiders that gather on them,” Lebsack said.

With the revenue brought in this past summer, Lebsack says the money borrowed to implement the Visitor Pay Parking Program has now been paid back.

In 2017, the Town borrowed funds from the Parks Capital Reserve to pay for the new machines and begin the program. It took the Town three years to pay back the borrowed money.

“We originally thought is was going to take five to seven years to pay back the money borrowed from the Parks Capital Reserve, so we are quite happy it has only taken three years,” said Lebsack.

The Town is also looking into an app which will allow visitors to pay for parking through their mobile devices.

Lebsack says they are looking into this option due to some feedback from visitors about parking in the downtown area.

“We have heard visitors from Calgary and Edmonton have been frustrated because we have machines that look just like the ones they use in their cities but don’t work the same way,” Lebsack said citing different programming in the cities.

The Town is not looking to build their own payment app, instead they are attempting to work with Calgary and Edmonton to use their payment apps with Sylvan Lake as a possible location.

“Familiarity with existing apps is also a benefit, so visitor’s with an existing Calgary/Edmonton app would not have to download and use another app.”

Fees associated with piggybacking on the cities’ apps are not yet known, and no agreements have been made between Sylvan Lake and the Cities of Calgary and Edmonton.

The possibility of the payment app is the only change planned for the visitor parking program in 2020.

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