Return of parking meters: GCCI, MAPM to raise objections with City Hall

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At a joint press conference on Monday, the Georgetown Chambers for Industry and Commerce (GCCI) and the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) both said they are dissatisfied with the proposed return of the controversial parking meter project adding that their experts will review the amended bylaws with the intent of raising their objections with the administration.

President of GCCI, Deodat Indar

GCCI’s President, Deodat Indar, said their interest in the project is so that they can address the concerns of their members, recalling the disastrous effect the project had when it was first implemented in 2017.

“We have to get our experts to go through the by-laws to make sure we find the areas where we believe that its not good for the city and we will so make that available to the Town Clerk and the Council at City Hall and we will so inform the Minister of Communities of the areas we have found that are troublesome or ticklish in our view,” Indar noted.

“A year ago a number of people from this Chamber took two separate walk around the city during the implementation of the parking meter project and when we were there talking to business people, 99 percent of them said business went down between 30-70 percent,” he added.

Additionally, he noted that it was shocking when they saw the numbers explaining that the businesses felt the impact the worst. He further outlined that the GCCI has 14 days to raise objections to the amended bylaws before it goes to Minister Ronald Bulkan for his approval.

Indar said the GCCI’s position remains the same that no impact assessment, environmental study or feasibility study was done to give rise to a parking meter system which is touted to act as a revenue generation unit for City Hall. He also alluded to the fact when the project was first implemented the city streets were deserted because citizens refused to pay the exorbitant sum for parking.

“We want to make sure that we on our side do what we can do from an advocacy standpoint to fix any anomaly that we see from our end with respect to the bylaws,” Indar said.

Meanwhile, MAPM’s Marcel Gaskin said they are prepared to take to the streets again if the project goes ahead in the current form. He explained that MAPM is not against a metered parking system in the city rather they are against the manner in which the project came about.

He, like Indar, bashed City Hall for not conducting a feasibility and financial study in addition to a means assessment adding that they are hopeful that Bulkan would address their objections favourably.

“Our position remains the same we are against the manner in which the parking meters were implemented. Against the manner in which they were foisted upon the citizens, they were foisted on the citizens with disastrous consequences….It resulted in significant loss in business and entities operating in the parking meter zone,” he noted.

“We submit that the tender procedure as outlined in (Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter) 28:01 was breached by city council. We are maintaining that the national procurement act was breached by city council in soliciting services from Smart City Solution and we maintain the position that if these things are addressed in a proper manner then we will have no objection to a metered parking in the city,” Gaskin added.

The amended parking meter bylaws were approved on April 4 by a majority vote. Now that the amended by-laws are approved, the administration will have to display them for a minimum of 14 days in public spaces and during that time persons could write to City Hall expressing their concerns.

Following that 14 days public display, the adopted by-laws will be forwarded to Minister Bulkan for his approval and if given will be then gazetted.

Under the new agreement persons will be paying $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in the city. Meanwhile, residents of the city would be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00-19:00hrs Monday to Friday while parking will be free on Saturdays. (Lakhram Bhagirat)

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