Canadian Forces veterans who have the special veterans licence plates will be able to receive free parking under a one-year pilot project.
The policy came into effect yesterday, November 3, when city council approved the bylaw change. This enables free parking at curbside metered parking on city streets, and EasyPark lots within Vancouver.
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Veterans will still need to obey the posted time limits. It should also be noted that the free parking does not cover facilities under the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Park Board, which would have to approve its own policies to grant veterans with the same ability.
This follows city council’s decision on October 22 that approved a directive calling for free veterans parking, but it came after much controversy after city staff recommended against city council’s request for free year-round parking. City staff had also recommended the removal of existing privileges of free veterans parking for the week-long period prior to Remembrance Day each year.
As well, city staff also previously believed free veterans parking would require up to two full-time staff for administration and cost $2 million in lost parking revenues annually, but that has been shaved down to $500,000 due to an apparent overestimate in the existing and potential new number of veteran licence plates.
City staff will monitor the pilot project and report back to city council in Fall 2021 on uptake and in consultation with veteran’s serving organizations.
Several Metro Vancouver suburban cities also have their own policies, including free parking year-round for veterans residing in Richmond, free parking year-round for all veterans in Surrey, and free parking for four hours daily in White Rock.
Some form of free parking for veterans is also offered in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg.