With paid parking not making a comeback downtown, the focus has turned to ramping up enforcement against parking scofflaws.
As a part of guidelines presented to mayor and councillors Monday night, the 2014 capital plan includes $450,000 allocated for licence plate recognition technology and signage.
During an Aug. 28 meeting dedicated to the parking issue, the common theme from delegation presentations was a need to change on-street parking behaviour, said public safety and civic facilities director Rob Whitwham.
"The input suggested the introduction of licence-plate recognition technology to improve enforcement and increasing voluntary parking fine payment through the use of towing," said Whitwham.
After the decision was made Sept. 23 not to award a contract for pay parking equipment, the question of what happens next had to be answered.
"Staying with the inefficient system of chalking tires would have been an impediment to changing parking behaviour," said Whitwham.
Staff have forecast that the ability to more capably enforce the two-hour parking limit in addition to creating more aggressive towing policies will bring in on-street parking revenues to the tune of $467,205 next year.
Downtown Business Improvement Association president Rod Holmes confirmed that the city has been in touch with his organization to schedule discussions on licence plate recognition.
"It's something we're certainly in favour of. When the decision was made back then [to re-introduce paid parking] we started doing the research and we talked with the people at city hall and advocated it," said Holmes. "We were an advocate then and we still are."
Holmes said his research shows that license-plate recognition technology is relatively inexpensive when compared to the more than $1 million the city was looking at to pay Aparc Systems for paystations.
"If you work the numbers out, I can't see it being any more than $80,000 or $90,000 for everything, vehicle included. I think the computer hardware and the LPR software is in the neighbourhood of $30,000 to $40,000," he said. "Virtually maintenance free, well established, proven Canadian technology that's accepted around the world."