A Double Dipping Parking Scheme



Calgary’s new residential parking permit fee plan has Calgarians upset, and we don’t blame them!

In case you haven’t heard about the changes yet, the City is introducing parking fees for on-street parking in residential areas - including in front of people’s own homes.

The new fees vary depending on where in the city you live and what kind of building you live in.

Some may still see no fees, while others may have to pay less than $100 a year, but closer to the city centre, and particularly for those in larger buildings, the fees can rise to as much as $150 per month.

Here’s the thing… in theory, the idea of a user pays parking system is and could be something we would support.

We’re a fiscally conservative organization that believes that the people who directly benefit from a service or a resource should be the ones paying for it.

In particular, we think that those who don’t use a service or resource, shouldn’t be stuck with the bill - like they are when something is paid for through taxes.

And parking spaces on roads - even the ones in front of your house - obviously do have a cost associated with their construction and maintenance.

But, as governments (and Calgary Council in particular) often do, they have once again managed to make a massive mess of something that, in principle, could have been a good thing.

You see, the City is already paying for all of these construction and maintenance costs through taxation.

They aren’t new costs that have appeared out of nowhere this year!

So, the City could have taken this opportunity of moving to a user pays system to also reduce taxes to compensate.

In that case, many Calgarians might actually have ended up paying less overall!

But, instead, Council still wants to bring in the same revenue from taxation as before (in fact, taxes continue to go up every year), and now they want the parking fee on top of our already high taxes.

If anything, the City is actually giving the idea of user pays a bad name, because they’re associating the concept of user pays with something completely different - they're requiring everyone who wants to keep using this service to pay twice.

A true user pays service would see those who do use the service pay once, and those who don’t use the service wouldn't have to pay at all.

Unfortunately, Council seems to just see this as another opportunity to raise revenue.

They’re going to use all the new user fee revenue to pay for what our taxes were paying for before, which will free up more of our tax dollars to fund Council's favoured pet projects that most Calgarians don’t want at all.

Essentially, they are double-dipping to disguise all their spending on other things that have nothing to do with parking.

So yes, here at Common Sense Calgary, we still stand behind the principle of user pays.

But we don’t support Council’s plan of user pays twice!

Council needs to revisit their parking fee plan or cut taxes to ensure that Calgarians aren't paying extra for the same services.

You can let us know what you think about Council’s new parking fees by replying to this email.

If you’d like to support Common Sense Calgary in our quest to hold City Council accountable and speak on behalf of Calgarians on this and many other issues, please consider making a donation to support our work:



Unlike Council, we won’t make you pay twice - unless you want to, of course!


Kristy Koehler
Executive Director
Common Sense Calgary

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