By: Aaraksh Siwakoti and Steven Smeall
Students and staff unsatisfied by the prices and available spaces are finding alternatives to parking at Algonquin, but bylaw officers are working to keep illegal parking at bay.
“I used to park on my friend’s street, but unfortunately the bylaw officers that patrol that street caught on and if I went over my legal three hours I got dinged, so that ended quickly,” said Andrew Cassidy a third-year business administration student.
On average, students can pay anywhere from $90 a month to $761 for the winter calendar and staff pays $1,101 for their annual pass.
“I have a green pass. To me, it’s too expensive, but it’s better than the alternative,” said Cassidy. “I’m not pleased having to pay $500 to park, but I have to and so I do.”
Communications professor Colleen Mayo-Pankhurst said her daughter is one of the people who need a parking spot on campus.
“The options are (either) pay somebody in the neighbourhood to park in their laneway or find parking on campus, and say she pays $800 for the privilege, it’s a lot of money,” said Mayo-Pankhurst.
Despite many students being concerned with the number of spots available for them, there are roughly 100 spaces left open throughout the day.
Spots close to the college fill up the quickest but they rarely run out, said Roch Lafond the manager of parking, lockers, coin-ops, and card services.
“To find a convenient spot, yes, you’ll have to wait for someone to leave probably,” he said.
Despite the complaints about rates, permits at Algonquin are less expensive than those available at Carleton University or the University of Ottawa. The price of parking on campus is also comparable to public parking around the city, according to Lafond.
And although students do not appreciate the cost, many are unaware where the money goes.
Some of the revenue made by parking services is diverted towards the maintenance of the lots, from cleaning to repairs and snow removal the cost can run high. And depending on the year and damage done to the lot grounds, the cost on average can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Lafond.
The remainder of the revenue is invested back into Algonquin. Last year, $2.7 million of the revenue was put back into the college. The money was used towards different projects within the college such as the Student Commons building.
Lafond would not specify exactly how much his department raises in total, minus costs.
“Whether they create a new program or they (Board of Governors) have to pay for the teacher’s salary, the money is put towards a variety of areas,” said Lafond. “All the money – every penny that we get – goes back to the college and gets re-invested.”