Downtown business owners want to take the city's parking woes into their own hands.
Mayor Shari Green and the rest of city council have received a letter from the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DBIA) requesting permission to open a dialogue with city staff about a new parking service agreement.
"We would like to propose that the DBIA take control of the enforcement and collection (the administration only) portion of downtown parking," wrote DBIA president Rod Holmes.
The association has been a vocal opponent of the reinstitution of paid on-street parking.
"We just really don't want to see the return of parking meters in downtown Prince George," Holmes said, in an interview. "We want to keep the traffic moving. Clearly that's something we want to have done."
When the parking meters were removed as part of a two-year trial in 2009, the DBIA president said there were well-established merchants who saw a significant increase in their business.
"And the economy in Prince George was not that strong back then," Holmes said. "It's strengthening now, no question about it, but I think it could very well be a very strong, negative factor in people coming downtown if they have to constantly plug meters."
Holmes said there is new technology that could help keep vehicles from bucking the system by taking up valuable spaces for two hours at a time and then simply moving over three spaces.
"They city's saying they have a lot of lost revenue, revenues not collected from parking fines for one reason or another," Holmes said.
A March report to city council indicated that the city's parking control division went from generating $80,000 in profit in 2007 to costing the city $81,000 per year.
While they're not outright asking the city to cede control to them, the DBIA wants to have the conversation with city administration.
In his letter, Holmes wrote that the former Downtown Parking Commission was "able to manage the downtown parking quite effectively, and we are confident that we can achieve the same or better results."
The Downtown Parking Commission, created in 1968, was disbanded after the city folded off-street parking into its bylaw services division in 2003.
"We think that parking in Prince George can be managed without having the general populace subsidizing it," Holmes said.
So far, the DBIA has not had a response to their letter from the city.