Parking rates jacked up again

By Naomi Sturtridge

For the second time in the 2004/2005 school year, parking rates at the University of Calgary have increased by eight per cent. Monthly permit fee increases become effective June 1, 2005, while other fee increases will be implemented May 1.

“This is just another kick in the ass for students,” said Students’ Union President Bryan West. “We didn’t really see it coming. The last I heard from the financial department of the U of C, they were done with parking rate increases.”

The University Planning and Finance Committee implemented the fee increase. West, who sits on the committee, was out of town for the decision, but noted the committee would not allow a substitute to sit in his place.

The fee increases will result in a $5 monthly increase to all annual permit holders as well as increases in meter, pay lot and daily parkade fees. In addition to parking increases, standard parking ticket fines will be raised from $20 to $30. Fines paid within seven days will still receive a $10 discount.

University employees are also upset about the increase.

“This is just something else put on the backs of staff and students,” said Nancy Ritchie, Alberta Union of Provincial Employees Local 52 Vice-Chair. “[Staff and students] have really been hit in the last couple of years with cost increases. We are definitely not being offered an eight per cent salary increase.”

While admitting fee increases have seemed overwhelming, Peter Fraser, Director of Ancillary Services at the U of C, believes that the increases will benefit students. The money will help U of C programs needing more funding and scholarship programs.

“The university policy over the last four years has been to [increase parking costs to] bring the parking up to market value… and I personally believe that we have reached our market value,” said Fraser adding future parking increases should hopefully be restricted to maintaining general parking costs.

Parking prices were last increased in Oct. 2004, while the price of permits has nearly doubled during the last three years.

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