The City of Winnipeg is poised to offer veterans up to 20 hours a year of free parking on city streets as well as free parking on Remembrance Day and the anniversaries of D-Day and the battle of Vimy Ridge.
On Wednesday, council’s executive policy committee will consider a plan to offer holders of veterans’ licence plates a coupon book containing 10 vouchers for two-hour parking on city streets. The coupon books will be handed out to veterans who can demonstrate they are eligible for veteran licence plates.
The coupons will allow veterans to attend medical appointments without having to pay for parking, said John Gillis, a Korean War veteran and 2nd vice-president of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada’s provincial command. He said 20 hours a year will be a significant help to veterans.
If all veteran licence plate holders in and around Winnipeg use all 20 hours allotted to them, the program will cost the Winnipeg Parking Authority approximately $50,000 a year, said Colin Stewart, the WPA’s special projects manager. There are approximately 1,500 veteran licence plate holders in and around Winnipeg, he said.
Mayor Sam Katz asked the parking authority to come up with a way to offer veterans free parking in April. Katz said he got the idea from someone who called in to a radio station while he was being interviewed. The mayor’s staff does not know the identity of the caller.
The plan also calls for free street parking for veteran licence plate holders on Nov. 11 (Remembrance Day), April 9 (Vimy Ridge anniversary) and June 6 (D-Day). Veterans will also have fee parking at the Millennium Library Parkade on Nov. 11. The province already extends veterans free parking on Nov. 11 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre parkade, Gillis said.
Pending EPC approval on Wednesday and council approval on Oct. 24, the city plan will take effect Nov. 1.