The City of Guelph is working on a plan to fix parking problems in the downtown core.

According to the city’s mayor, there’s a ‘healthy’ number of spaces downtown. But he said how the spots are being used will be examined.

“Parking is expensive. It’s not, in my view, very good land use to always be accommodating the personal automobile. Should the tax payer’s dollars always go to provide parking for an automobile? That’s not really a healthy financial equation,” Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie told CTV News.

Currently, the city allows free two-hour on-street parking downtown, but soon that program will be up for debate.

“It’s going to be a conversation about whether or not we keep the two-hour free parking,” said Guthrie.

Carly Klassen is a city councillor and a small business owner. She said she sees a lot of temporary parking issues. She would like to see two-hour spaces be reduced to short-term parking.

“For people to park quickly and go to the bank or go get a coffee or something like that,” Klassen said. “People just park on the street downtown all day long, and it’s not always enforced. So people who are just coming downtown don’t always have access to those parking spots.”

Andrew Wheeler, the co-owner of a cheese shop on Carden Street said parking is a frustrating topic for some of his customers.

“We do see some business loss. We have people who say ‘I came by the other day, I couldn’t find parking, and I just had to get going,’” Wheeler admitted. “I think people have to understand that parking is great if you can find it out front but sometimes you are going to have to use a parkade.”

A few doors away at Atmosphere Café, Chef Shawn Gilbert said the city should look for ways to improve parking downtown but he said much of the responsibility lies with drivers.

“People need to park right outside the storefront, which I understand, but when we go to Montreal when we go to Toronto we expect to park in a parkade, we expect parking to be a hassle. But when we come downtown to small cities, we are confused why there is no parking, but there are parkades everywhere,” Gilbert said.

The city is looking for feedback from residents who can fill out a survey online. The master plan is expected to go to council in September.