Visitor Pay Parking Program approved at Town Council

Visitors to Sylvan Lake will see the addition of a paid parking fee during their time in Sylvan Lake this summer.

Visitors to Sylvan Lake will see the addition of a paid parking fee during their time in Sylvan Lake this summer.

Town Council voted Monday night to award a contract to Cale Systems Inc. for the implementation of a visitor paid parking system in Sylvan Lake’s downtown and Centennial Park areas.

Ron Lebseck, Director of Community Services for the Town of Sylvan Lake, stated in a report to Council that these areas are a major focus of the recreational opportunities in Sylvan Lake for residents and visitors alike. Parking in the downtown core and Centennial Park are often filled to capacity early in the day throughout the summer months.Council’s rationale behind proposing a visitor pay parking program is to generate revenue from visitors to be used for the upkeep and maintenance of the downtown and the enhanced enforcement required in the downtown.

The Visitor Pay Parking Program was included in the 2017 budget for implementation in May of 2017. Town staff released a Request For Proposal for the supply and installation of the pay parking stations and associated equipment on February 1, 2017 with five companies submitting proposals.

The proposals ranged in start-up pricing from $97,842 to $126,270. After reviewing and evaluating the proposals the start-up costs were captured as well as the annual operating costs, which had a greater range based on annual software licensing and equipment licensing fees.

Administration reviewed all aspects of the proposals and are recommended Cale Systems Inc. be awarded the contract. Cale Systems Inc. is a Canadian company from Quebec, with a provincial office located in Edmonton, and operate under the name of ParkPlus Systems.

Lebseck stated the reasons for recommending Cale Systems Inc. included free software updates, free online and phone assistance, ‘Smart Card’ solutions available for resident passes, as well as a service and warranty program equal or better than the other proposals.

Lebseck explained residents of the downtown area will be issued a ‘smart card’ which they will use to park near their homes free of charge with all residents of Sylvan Lake receiving free parking with the use of their license plate numbers in the parking machines.

The Visitor Pay Parking Program was budgeted in 2017 at $483,000 for the entire program, with $175,000 estimated as the purchase price for pay parking stations. The contract for pay parking stations at $121,500 is within the projected budget for this expense.

Lebseck stated the implementation of the pay parking program aligns with Council’s strategic direction by providing fiscal responsibility and continuous improvement of the community through the development of additional funding sources and reinvestment of those surplus revenues back into the downtown.

The comprehensive communication strategy for the pay parking project includes small billboard style signage located in the Centennial Park lots, actual street signage installed with “Coming in 2017” banners included on the street signage, mail out/utility inserts to residents and a social media campaign that clearly outline what the payback will be on the project and what the eventual revenues will be used for once the pay parking begins to make surplus revenue.

Sean McIntyre, Mayor of Sylvan Lake, stated with respect to the Visitor Pay Parking Program as a whole it is important to continue to stress the program will only be for visitors and residents will not be impacted.

“Residents are not expected to pay for parking in an area they’ve already helped to estabilish,” said Mayor McIntyre. “We will still have free parking located in the downtown for visitors as well 50 Avenue and the railway promenade remains free. It’s really only those premium spots.”

jenna.swan@sylvanlakenews.com