City develops four possible scenarios to fund downtown parking

Public invited to attend open houses, take survey to inform Parking Master Plan

Guelph, ON, September 4, 2015 – The City of Guelph is seeking public input on four possible funding scenarios to pay for existing and future parking needs in Guelph’s downtown.

“Parking impacts all Guelph residents and is an important factor in growing and developing our city. To support the economy and growth targets in the downtown, we need to build new parking spaces, maintain existing parking infrastructure, create supportive policy, and plan for future requirements,” says Ian Panabaker, corporate manager, Downtown Renewal.

He adds, “The scenarios—developed by staff using consultant recommendations and information gathered at public meetings in 2013—have the potential to fund existing and future parking needs.”

In late 2012, the City initiated a Parking Master Plan project to focus on Guelph’s downtown and surrounding areas in an effort to improve parking. Public parking inventory downtown has not increased since 1983, when Guelph had a population of 70,000. As a result, today, on-street parking and parking lots in the downtown core are at capacity.

By 2031, the number of people who work and live downtown will double from 8,000 to about 16,000. Between 1,300 and 1,700 additional parking spaces will be needed for people living, working, and visiting the downtown. These new parking spaces will be created by replacing downtown parking lots with a series of parkades, starting with 350 new spaces at the Wilson Street lot followed by 250 new spaces at the Neeve Street lot.

Currently, the downtown parking system is funded through tax-supported dollars, parking permits, and daily and short-term user fees. On-street parking does not generate revenue and its enforcement is paid through a cost recovery program from tickets issued. There are no funds for new parking infrastructure.

Staff will report to Council with program recommendations and a financial strategy at the end of 2015. The Parking Master Plan will enable the City’s Downtown Secondary Plan and align with the Province’s Places to Grow Act.

Funding scenarios

  • The first scenario includes an increase to the City’s contribution and keeps current user pay rates and free on-street parking. This scenario provides funds for new parking infrastructure without increasing user rates, but has the largest tax implication.
  • Scenario two includes an increase to the City’s contribution and user pay rates, and introduces parking permits in the periphery area. On-street parking in the core remains free. There is a large tax implication with this scenario.
  • Scenario three is a blended model that introduces paid on-street parking and periphery parking permits while balancing user pay with City contribution. There is minimal tax implication.
  • Scenario four is a user pay model that reduces the City’s contribution, increases user rates, and introduces paid on-street parking and periphery parking permits. This scenario has the least tax implication.


During the month of September, members of the public are invited to drop in to one of six open houses to speak with City staff about the Parking Master Plan, learn more about the proposed funding scenarios, and provide feedback via a survey, which is also available at

“The City is looking to better understand stakeholder preferences and feedback will be used to create a financial strategy for parking infrastructure in Guelph’s downtown,” explains Panabaker.

Parking Master Plan Open Houses

Thursday, September 10
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Road South

Friday, September 11
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Carden Street

Monday, September 14
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
Clair Road Emergency Services Centre, 160 Clair Road West

Tuesday, September 15
2–8 p.m.
Stone Road Mall, 435 Stone Road West

Wednesday, September 16
2–4 p.m. or 6–8 p.m.
Victoria Road Recreation Centre, 151 Victoria Road

Friday, September 18
5–8 p.m.
Evergreen Seniors Community Centre, 683 Woolwich Street

For more information

Cameron Walsh
Project Director
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
519-822-1260 extension 2462

Ian Panabaker
Corporate Manager
Downtown Renewal
Business Development and Enterprise
519-822-1260 extension 2475