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LETTER: Cautionary tale of private paid parking in Canmore

Editor: Mid Morning on Winter Solstice day registered -32 Celsius before the windchill. That weather emptied the streets and the 15-minute free parking spaces in front of the Canmore Post Office. After buying stamps, I drove one block west to park at

Editor:

Mid-morning on winter solstice day registered -32 Celsius before the windchill. That weather emptied the streets and the 15-minute free parking spaces in front of the Canmore Post Office.

After buying stamps, I drove one block west to park at the mini-mall known as The Siding near the Civic Centre and main bus stop by artsPlace. There were lots of spaces right in front of the JK Bakery, a favourite of mine. I ducked into the bakery, easily found a comfy chair as customers were sparse and savoured a good coffee, a strudel, and a relaxed reading of the Outlook.

My pleasant downtown outing turned expensive when driving home, up flapped on the wiper a notice – the word violation is carefully avoided – from Indigo Parking Canada Ltd. demanding $70 forthwith or $90 if I don't pay within 10 days. Turns out this Indigo, which has its head office in Montreal and is part of the Indigo Group of companies headquartered in France, is very upset with me.

Their main complaint is I had not registered my licence plate with them when parking on private property. But JK Bakery didn't have the sacred Indigo QR square displayed that morning anywhere inside their premises, and outside all the brand new signs I found later when revisiting the scene of the crime are mounted near the sidewalk of the lot, not near the entrance to the bakery. Frosted windows and my terrible habit of not keeping a good lookout for small new signs while parking in familiar places didn't help either. But next time I will let Paris know where I am and what I am driving just to keep things in hand.

I know how safe that kind of information is. Hmm, on second thought maybe I should just avoid any lot signed Indigo. I may even avoid downtown as much as possible just as I do Banff.

This is a cautionary tale for we who live in Canmore. Do look at the Indigo Parking Canada website. See how they assist owners of parking facilities monetize their asset. And stay tuned because all the new revenue flowing to those private owners may, just may, be followed by rental reductions to their retail tenants. Won't that be wonderful?

Even Santa will be impressed by that.

James McPherson,

Canmore