UPDATED: Parking meter rates killing business on the Plateau
Mont-Royal Avenue business owners say the borough's decision to raise parking meter rates, may be good for the borough, but the higher prices are eating into their businesses.
The Mont-Royal Merchants Association says in a two year period since the higher rates took effect in 2010, there was a 17% decline in the number of customers visiting local stores and businesses.
Sales were off 11% while increasing 2.8% in the rest of the province and the commercial vacancy rate has increased from 4.9% in 2010 to 8.6% in 2012.
"Customers from outside the borough are coming less and less," Bertrand Hubert, spokesman for the Merchants Association said. "We want the borough to reopen Christophe-Colombe Avenue, so there can be better access to Mont-Royal Avenue, bring down parking prices and create a promotion campaign to get the customers back."
Borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez told CJAD that parking is important for business but not the only issue. "If it was the only thing the whole Plateau would be going down right now and it's not."
Ferrandez added that the borough is working to change the prices of parking meters from a fix rate to a variable one.
In 2011 the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough added 600 parking meters to area streets and raised parking meter rates to $3 per hour from $2 per hour.