At a meeting of the city’s finance committee Sept. 18, councillors approved a request from the Royal Canadian Legion in Sudbury to extend the War Pensioners Parking program, which gives four free hours of parking to anyone with a War Pensioner’s Permit on their dashboard. The move won't be final, however, until it passes as part of the 2013 budget
That program, passed in 2006, was supposed to be a one-year effort to help mark the Year of the Veteran. However, the program was never cancelled, and about 100 veterans remain eligible.
There are currently 265 poppy plates issued to drivers in Greater Sudbury. Staff estimates that, should each driver take full advantage of the program every day, the city would lose $1,365 a day in parking revenue.
“There are currently 650 war veterans living in the city,” said Bill Lautenbach, the city’s general manager of growth and development.
A staff report also raises concerns about the difficulty of enforcing and monitoring the program. However, city councillors said offering free parking is the least they can do for veterans.
“I really don’t think those are realistic calculations,” said Mayor Marianne Matichuk. “That’s assuming every one of these veterans will be parking for eight hours a day … So how much money are we really looking at?”
The poppy plates are issued by the Ministry of Transportation for $5, and are issued according to how much service time a veteran has in the various armed forces branches.