One of the parking kiosks in Lot 8 used for purchasing daily passes Photo credit: Jeremy Morse

With the hope that more students will return to campus for the upcoming fall semester, Algonquin College will need to be prepared for the sudden influx. A crucial element of the college’s infrastructure is its parking.

Parking Services have confirmed that the Woodroffe campus will be ready to accommodate the number of students returning to campus. Students have shifted their frustrations from the college’s parking space availability to the pricing of permits.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of the almost-complete Athletics and Recreation Centre has quietly consumed roughly 250 former parking spaces.

Roch Lafond, the manager for Algonquin’s Parking Services, said that the majority of the displaced parking was replaced with temporary parking lots adjacent to T Building (Lot 17) and S Building (Lot 16), an expansion to Lot 1 (by A Building), as well as maximizing and increasing spaces in Lots 7, 9, 11, and 12. “Once the Athletics and Recreation Centre is complete, the campus parking-space inventory is expected to be similar to what was available prior to the construction,” he said.

In the past, the availability of parking spaces was the greatest frustration for most students, but for now, the loss of these parking spaces appears to be inconsequential. The ongoing frustration now stems from the price of parking permits. “The regular permits are so expensive, especially when there are only 20 cars in a huge lot,” said Maddy Graham, a recent graduate of the Baking and Pastry Arts Management program. Graham began driving to campus during her second year, after the pandemic made public transportation a less viable option. “I never had an issue finding parking during the pandemic, but it still doesn’t make sense to be paying so much,” said Graham.

Frank Lahache is a Music Industry Arts student who shares Graham’s frustration. “Parking is way too expensive considering that everything is online,” he said. “I paid the same this year when I only have one campus class, compared to previous years when I parked on campus every day.”

Lahache has a suggestion for how the college could adjust their pricing for parking permits, “I think they should ask people how many classes they have on campus and price it accordingly.”

Lafond said that the college is providing more flexible, short-term parking options to accommodate those who are only occasionally parking on campus. “Parking Services has added daily parking options to Lots 8, 9 and 10 this year and is currently introducing MultiPacks in select lots that provide a discounted rate of ten per cent on a pre-paid pack of ten daily parking passes.”