Parking for Dollars

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One of my biggest pet peeves is paying for parking.  Unless it’s to park at the beach with a gal, on a moonlit Summer evening, to watch the ‘submarine races.’  If you grew up during the sixties, you’d remember the reference.

Most people don’t mind paying for a service – such as a valet parking.  But when it comes to parking on Main Street in any city in Canada, you have to pay to park on the street.  And in Vancouver, the cost per hour is comparable to the price of an ice-cold six-pack at your local liquor store.

I have been called ‘everything under the Sun,’ but ‘cheapskate’ isn’t one of them.  I’ve always considered myself to be generous.  But it bugs me to search for a loonie or toonie ($1 or $2) for the parking meter.  And posting a telephone number that I can call ‘pay-by-phone’ only works if you have a cell phone.

Now, I don’t usually write about topics that annoy me because if it annoys me to write about it – then it will be just as annoying for you to read.  However, I suspect that virtually nobody supports ‘paying-for-parking.’

But Danny, our civic leaders, only have limited revenue to pay for improvements to the infrastructure (roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, etc.)?

Well, Spanky, then those leaders need to learn from the community of Delta, BC.  Because it is the only city in Canada that I know of that doesn’t allow parking meters anywhere within the city boundaries.  Even the hospital doesn’t charge for parking!

Ten years ago, when I was going through my cancer treatments, I had to pay for parking.  Vancouver, Surrey, and Abbotsford, cancer centers charge for vehicle parking.  And they are paying $4.50 per hour while being treated is annoying for patients.  But hospital staff also have to pay for parking while at work.

Late last year, the new council in Surrey, voted to eliminate pay parking at Surrey Memorial Hospital.  However, the only change is the elimination of a fee if parked on the street surrounding the hospital.

I’m guessing that the hospital would lose a couple of million dollars in annual revenue if they eliminate the pay parking.   Well, excuse me if I don’t feel sorry for them.  I’m more concerned for the sick and their caregivers.

I’ve had an idea about paying that would be fair to all people.  Here’s how it works: All Canadian citizens, when they reach the age of sixty-five, will qualify for a special ‘Canadian’ license plate for their vehicle.  

Currently, there are red ‘Canada’  license plates for foreign dignitaries.  In the past few years,  Canada also decided to honor its veterans, by issuing them light-blue, ‘Veteran’ plates.  My dad died too soon to get one for his car, but some of my friends have a special plate, including Dale Chalice, one of my walking buddies.

I am suggesting that the color of the new seniors’ plate will be navy blue (my favorite color) with wording that designates the vehicle owner a senior – with special privileges.

Provinces, Territories, and even Ontario currently have individual license plates for its physically-challenged residents.  This policy will continue, but when the person reaches sixty-five, their special license plate will now be colored navy blue.

And because you’ve been paying federal, provincial/territory, municipal, regional, income and capital gains taxes for most of your life – you would stop paying all taxes once you retired.

But if you wanted to continue working after reaching retirement age, you could – but you wouldn’t qualify for this particular plate, and you’d still have to pay taxes.

I am not taking a political position here – I’m just trying to point out the obvious.  When you’ve worked and paid taxes for forty years (assuming you started full-time work at the age of twenty-five), or longer – it’s time to be recognized for your service.

But Danny, what do we get with the seniors’ license?

Well, let me explain, Spanky!

You’ve worked long enough (and probably hard enough) to qualify for some consideration (payback), including the following perks:

  1. Never pay to park your vehicle again.
  2. Never pay for license plates again.  They automatically renew on your birthday – free!
  3. Never pay a bridge or road toll anywhere in Canada.
  4. Never pay for ferry service anywhere in Canada.
  5. There must be at least one-third of all parking spaces designated for vehicles with the plate.
  6. And lastly – you will never be pulled over by the police for driving too slow.

It’s not that I’m a left-wing radical or an avid socialist – I’m neither.  I’m just sick and tired of hearing about retirees not being treated fairly.  My parents and your parents worked their butts off to provide for us.  And we baby-boomers and zoomers have been paying the way for the next generation (whatever they call themselves).

If Delta, BC, can afford to let its citizens park anywhere for free – then, what’s stopping Langley, Parksville,  Grande Prairie, Saskatoon, Flin Flon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Goderich, Oshawa, Bedford, Moncton, Miramichi, Summerside, Cornerbrook, and Goose Bay from following suit?

Meanwhile, the next time you pull up to a parking meter – leave a post-it note on the meter that reads: ‘UNEMPLOYED.’  The city drones that distribute parking tickets (police have more important things to do) will probably give you a ticket anyway.  But maybe, the meter maid/man will have a conscience and give you a break.

I’m not going to review or edit this post, though.  Because if I do, I’ll think that the story is too political and delete it.

But my message is apolitical – it’s also the last hippie thought in my brain.

Please add a comment or suggestion on some other benefits you’d like to see included in this plan.

I’m going out to cut the lawn one last time.  My buddy Peter Hrehoruk, who lives in Ontario, told me it was minus 11 C, and they had six inches of snow in Cobourg.

That brings me to another suggestion:  Retirees should never shovel snow – EVER!

You’re welcome!

Dedicated to Baby Boomers



Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):


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About Post Author

Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).
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2 thoughts on “Parking for Dollars

  1. I totally agree with what you are saying. I think seniors should have a few more free privileges as we have been taxed all our lives. No senior should have to shovel snow and I was glad to hear that Oshawa seniors by request can get their sidewalks shovelled by the city apparently if they qualify. (Not sure of qualifications).

    1. Hi Alice, Peter sounded much better when I spoke to him on the phone. I’m looking forward to seeing you guys when I come to Ontario. The other option is to visit with you guys for a couple of days in Mexico in the New Year. Hugs, Danny

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