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Downtown Pembroke brings back parking meter enforcement

More than two years of free parking in downtown Pembroke ends on July 1 when paid parking meters return to the downtown core.

All good things must come to an end.

However, for the shoppers and tourists who frequent downtown Pembroke, they likely want the good things to continue after it was announced the two-hour free parking initiative at downtown meters will end on July 1, 2022. 

All parking meters in the city of Pembroke will once again require payment.  Payment at meters is required from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The current rate is $0.25 for every 30 minutes.  Enforcement of the parking meters will recommence.

The announcement brings an end the initial six-month pilot project that morphed into a 30 month experiment.

In early 2020, council adopted a pilot project to allow free parking downtown for six months to help support local businesses. The program was eventually extended once COVID-19 hit until December 31st. On January 1st, parking meters were back in business.

However, the onslaught of COVID, the Pembroke Business Improvement Area requested that the city offer free parking again until June 30th of 2021, which was again extended. When the initiative launched it was as a six-month pilot project to see how much revenue the City would lose by offering free parking at the meters and the effect free parking would have on encouraging more shopping at downtown businesses.

Because of COVID lockdowns, business closures related to the lockdowns and some businesses being restricted to serving only double-vaccinated people, no clear picture could accurately identify what providing free-parking at meters downtown actually did, in both the short and long-term as far as attracting shoppers downtown and what, if any, addition revenue was generated for the local businesses.

According to the City’s treasury department, there was approximately a positive effect on the city’s coffers in 2020.  At the time, Colleen Sauriol, the City’s planning, building, and by-law enforcement manager, said the normal average revenue brought in by parking meters was approximately $50,000 and the normal average revenue for parking tickets was $49,000.

At a November 2021 meeting, Pembroke city council accepted a recommendation of the planning and development committee and approved the extension of two hour free parking, seven days a week, from Jan. 1, 2022 to July 1, 2022 in the downtown core.

Payment at the meters is also available by the Honkmobile App.  Simply download the app on your phone and input the zone information on the meter. Full details can be found at www.honkmobile.com.

For those who want to keep that loonie in your pocket rather than feed the meters, there is free parking at the Market Square Lot, Alexander Street Lot and Marina Parking Lot. Parking limits vary by location. Watch for signs where you are parking.

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