The nice thing about visiting small towns is leaving the parking and traffic struggles behind for a while. Typically, it's easier to find free street parking in small towns than in larger cities. Though the traffic in Canmore can get pretty crazy in the high seasons, the town has been blessed with free parking since the dawn of time. However, in a few months, Canmore downtown parking will no longer be free. On the flip side, public transit won't cost a thing.

On Tuesday, December 3, Canmore’s town council approved the changes which will be kicking off in summer 2020. The new parking fees will impact downtown parking between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

Though the parking fees are nowhere near what one may pay in a city, they could still add up if you park downtown frequently. The fees will be dependant on the season and will go up during peak visiting months.

The Peak Season Pricing Map shows that there will be zones in which 4-hour parking will be $4 and zones where 4-hour parking will be $6.

There will also be areas where all-day parking will cost $6 or $60 for a month if you buy a pass. Parking will be either $1 or $1.50 per hour, depending on the area.

Though this may not seem ideal, it comes along with the perk of free public transit.

Mayor John Borrowman told the Rocky Mountain Outlook that he often hears Canmore locals say they don’t go downtown anymore because of the congestion and difficulty parking during peak months. He hopes the paid parking project might change this.

The fee for paid parking in Canmore will help ensure the town’s public transit system can remain free. The money will be going right to the local public transport bus service called Roam.

Though paid parking downtown might discourage you from driving, at least it won’t cost you to hop on the bus instead.

According to CBC News, Mayor Borrowman says it has been a controversial move, but he says locals should wait and see how the project unfolds.

Confirming Borrowman's words about it being controversial, responses on Twitter are incredibly polarized.

Many individuals are speaking out in support of the new fees. One Twitter user wrote, "Great move, @TownofCanmore! This will improve the utility of on-street parking to the benefit of local businesses, plus fund transit!"

On the other side of the token, one Twitter user shared opposing views. "Parking for downtown Canmore should remain free. We visit from Calgary and buy a coffee, visit the stores and shop a little," they wrote.

Individuals that live in Canmore can apply to get free permits to park in their neighbourhood.

Though, for residents that have parking places already, if traffic is spilling into their private parking, it is on them to put up signs.

There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.

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