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Minister: New city parking charges might not happen

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New regulations that will increase parking fees on city streets in Hamilton may become a non-issue if legislators pass amendments to Bermuda's Municipalities Act.

That is a view of Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy now that the Attorney General is to review the controversial plan to introduce “aggressive” car clamping and pay-and-display increases. It also calls for parking fees for motor and auxiliary cycles.

Sen Fahy met with Mayor Graeme Outerbridge on Tuesday to discuss the proposed changes contained in the Hamilton Traffic and Parking Ordinance 2013.

After the meeting he said the Corporation “has yet to make any form of announcement as to when they had anticipated it to have come into effect”.

But as far as he's concerned it could turn out that the new rates may never go into effect.

“When we have tough economic times and we're encouraging people to shop in Hamilton and buy Bermuda, you need to find ways to not charge people to come into town,” said the Minister.

“I'm not going to say absolutely not, but what I am going to say is that it is incumbent upon us as a Government to sit down with the Corporation and look as to where they're going; or anticipate going.”

He noted that the Municipalities Bill is to be debated in the House of Assembly “which will redefine the relationship between the City of Hamilton and that of the Government, should that bill pass”.

“You will note in there that in respect of ordinances there's a very specific process that would need to be followed to get ordinances in the books as it were,” said Sen Fahy.

“So I think part of my concern, not withstanding the actual parking issue is the process in which it is being followed in respect of this particular ordnance, given the impending legislation which will address issues like this.

“The return of wharfage and port dues is something they have been asking for, and that will come into effect I believe, with the next budget in February.

“The Corporation has a revenue issue and my understanding is that this is something that has been in the works for some time.”

But he said: “There is a possibility that it may not come into effect at all, but let the Corporation and the Government do their work together and collaborate in respect of how we can move forward.

“I'm not surprised the Chamber is against it given that they represent retail which obviously has concerns,” said the Minister.

The proposed plan was introduced as a means of increasing revenue for the municipality.

Under the new plan, the City of Hamilton will be divided into three parking zones, with different prices for each zone.

* Zone 1 parking, covering all streets between Front Street and Church Street, including Church Street, will cost $2 an hour;

* Zone 2 parking, covering all streets between Church Street and Dundonald Street, including Dundonald Street. will cost $1.50 an hour; and

* Zone 3 parking, covering all streets between Dundonald Street and North Street, will cost $1 an hour.

The new scheme, aimed at increasing revenue for the municipality would also mean more traffic wardens on city streets. The plan was announced on Sunday.

(Photo by Mark Tatem) Parking charges: A sign points the way at City Hall car park.
Home Affairs Minister: Michael Fahy

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Published September 26, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 26, 2013 at 12:43 am)

Minister: New city parking charges might not happen

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