April 30, 2020
“Made-in-Nelson” Economic Stimulus Fund – Plug the Meter Campaign!
NELSON, BC - In 2019, the City of Nelson generated over $1,100,000 in parking meter revenue as well as collected $290,000 in parking meter fines. Parking meter revenues are primarily used to fund the City of Nelson’s $1.5 million annual paving program. The collection of parking fines helps offset the cost of enforcement. Since 2013, 7% of the parking meter revenue (approximately $90,000/annually) has gone into the Downtown & Waterfront Reserve Fund. The total transfer to the reserve over this seven-year period was $665,000 and has funded important Downtown & Waterfront projects over that time, including:
Although these funds have been earmarked for important civic and public art projects over the next five years, some of those will be deferred allowing these funds to be re-directed to priority projects that will help our local businesses recover from this pandemic.
The “Made-in-Nelson” Economic Stimulus Fund is a key part of the Mayor and Council’s Economic Stimulus and Financial Stability 25 Point Action Plan. This new Economic Stimulus Fund will temporarily replace the Downtown & Waterfront Reserve Fund, and broaden eligible projects. Not only will the type of projects be expanded, the contributions percentages from “plugging the meter” will be increased from 7% to 50%. In addition, 50% of parking meter fines will go into this new Economic Stimulus Fund, which will run from May 1, 2020, to August 31, 2020.
“While we recognize some people find plugging the meter inconvenient at times and dislike getting a parking ticket, under this new program, our area residents will be directly helping our businesses get back on their feet,” says Mayor Dooley “We are redirecting a significant amount of money away from our paving program, but we can weather that storm for this year to help our business community. So join me in plugging the meter!”
This “Made-in-Nelson” Economic Stimulus Fund will be used to support our business community to adapt to the new reality of COVID-19. This new program will continue to support public art programs and downtown beautification projects such as decorative lighting. It will also target storefront improvements, energy upgrades and help fund the transition of our businesses to doing business online. The City of Nelson is in discussions with the Kootenay Association of Science & Technology (KAST), Selkirk College, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership (NAEDP), and others to develop a Digital Nelson – an online marketplace. This will allow area residents and the world to transact with participating local businesses online, seamlessly. Not only will this help during the pandemic, but it is also an essential step in our local businesses being able to compete in a digital marketplace.
"Local businesses are working hard to get products online, but there is still a long way to go to make local products easy to buy. I’d love to see a ‘buy local online marketplace’ for every community in the Kootenays.” Says KAST Executive Director Cam Whitehead. “We have the local talent to make this happen, so I will be happy to plug the meter to help get businesses online.”
“It is more important than ever for our community to ‘Think Local First,’” according to Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Thomson, “We should always use the revenue in a beneficial and creative way — so people can see the meter money at work locally. Nelson and area businesses need your support, so join me to plug the meter and eat, drink and shop locally.”
Tom Thomson (in center) and Cam Whitehead (far right) join Mayor Dooley in “Plugging the Meter” to support local businesses.
Kevin Cormack, City Manager – email@example.com or (250) 352 -8203