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Kitchener condominium residents vow to fight parking lot fee change

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Some residents living in a condominium building on Garment St. in downtown Kitchener are upset after the city resumed charging people using a nearby city parking lot after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

The Bramm Street Yards parking lot is beside the condominium on Garment St. During the pandemic, parking was free after 5 p.m. and on weekends. On Monday, the city started charging users $2.60 an hour, up to a maximum of $13 from 8 a.m. to midnight.

“During the pandemic, this lot was free after 5 pm and on weekends to help with our pandemic response. The city has now reverted back to the approved rates of $2.60 per hour to a daily maximum of $13,” a spokesperson with the City of Kitchener said in an email.

Residents argue it’s unfair, because some other parking lots beside condos downtown are free during those hours.

“So there's several downtown condos that are right adjacent to these city parking lots. And many of these downtown lots also have right on the same street two hour free parking,” Garment Street condominium resident Terry Sturtevant said.

According to the city, in the downtown area, the lot near Grand River Hospital, city parking garages and the Bramm Street Yards lot are not free after 5 p.m. The remaining surface lots in the downtown core remain free after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

The city said the other lots where parking is still free during those times are to support economic growth in the downtown, but not to provide free residential parking.

Bramm Yards is not included in that, because the city said “This lot generally doesn’t provide the same supports that the lots in the heart of downtown do. It functions more as a satellite lot so the model is different.”

“We're really just asking to be treated fairly and really calling on city council to communicate transparently,” Garment Street condominium resident Kaylee Perez said.

Perez lives in the condominium beside the lot. She said the condo does have parking, but costs $150 a month for residents and visitors pay as well. Nearby street parking is limited.

“It's expensive and many of us do. But again, it's for when we have friends and family over - who wants to pay to have to visit?” Perez said.

Perez feels with the cost of living and many young families in the downtown core, city council should treat the lot similar to the others downtown.

“There are over 300 people who signed a petition in less than a week. So it's an issue that matters to a lot of us here in the Kitchener downtown,” Perez said.

The condominium residents do say they plan to continue fighting the change. They’re working to organize a delegation and hope to present to city council at a meeting on March 18.

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