This week, Whitehorse politicians voted to waive a $200,000 parking fee at the old Bonanza Inn building.
However, some fear that this means they’ll have to disregard the rule for everyone.
Under a city zoning bylaw, whenever significant renovations are done to a building, it has to be brought up to parking code.
Therefore, the Bonanza needed to find 11 parking spaces within 100 metres of the building.
Failing that would result in a $200,000 fee.
The proponents asked council to waive the parking requirement.
“I think it’s a good thing that’s happening in the downtown area with the revitalization of the building,” said Councillor Jan Stick.
“Looking at what was in those buildings prior to this and what’s going on now, I don’t see where parking is going to be greatly impacted by this.”
“We’ve giving them an option of finding a parking space within 100 metres or else paying a fee,” she continued.
“And there isn’t parking within 100 metres of them, so it isn’t even an option.”
“I have a great deal of sympathy for the proponents here, but the simple fact remains, folks, that we passed this bylaw that said, if you’re going to redevelop, you’re going to have to pay or else come up with parking spots,” said Councillor Doug Graham.
“So on one hand we pass the bylaw and on the other we start giving exemptions.”
“I don’t agree with that process. If we’re going to do this then we’re going to have to repeal the bylaw or institute some changes that makes it fair and equitable for everybody,” said Graham.
“Otherwise every time we have a redevelopment in the downtown area we’re going to have somebody coming here and we’re going to have to go through the same process, which is ridiculous to me.”
But bylaws are not set in stone, said Councillor Dave Stockdale.
“We’re always changing the zoning, changing the OCP we’re going against the OCP, I mean, the philosophies we espouse and the principles — we break them constantly,” he said.
“But we seem to feel it’s not that great of a situation and I agree with you this will automatically change the bylaw, because what you do for one person you’ve got to do for everybody else on Main Street.”
“We voted for this bylaw and this is the first test of it, the first test,” retorted Graham.
“Parking at some point in the future is going to be a problem,” he added.
“And if we don’t have this money in the parking reserve, which we’ve already raided once, we’re going to have to come up with something else to institute a parking program or a parking scheme in downtown Whitehorse.”