Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Edward Boyer says the implementation of the metered parking system in Georgetown “is not finding support” in the business community.
Speaking with Stabroek News yesterday, Boyer said at the level of the PSC, there is consensus and “the whole idea of the parking meter is not finding support.”
Boyer’s comments come days after National Parking System/Smart City Solutions (NPS/SCS) began preparatory works to install an estimated 400 parking meters within the central business district of the capital city.
A month ago, Managing Director of Business Development of SCS Amir Oren had met with the PSC. Immediately following that meeting, a member of the commission had said that the PSC had not been convinced of the value of the project. The commission had previously called for a public debate on the parking meter contract as well as an engagement between the commission and the Mayor and City Council to discuss the contract.
The preparatory works to install the meters began on Sunday morning, when workers from the company earmarked parking spaces on Main Street, in the vicinity of Courts.
No date has been announced for when the parking meters would come into play but according to information reaching Stabroek News, SCS plans to begin installation of the first phase of 3,400 spaces in November.
Public Relations Consultant Kit Nascimento had told this newspaper that NPS/SCS will be investing US$10 million for a full scale roll out of 400 state-of-the-art multi-space parking meters, made by Parkeon Meters.
These meters will include Strada Evolution parking meters and Strada Bank Note Acceptor parking meters manufactured by Parkeon, the leading global manufacturer of parking meters and related analytical and monitoring platforms.
The meters will be installed in the city’s main commercial district from Water to Camp streets and from Quamina Street to Hadfield Street.
Stabroek News learned that the company went ahead with acquiring the equipment after several amendments made to its contract were presented to the full city council on August 29.
The amendments include the reduction of the length of the contract to 20 years as opposed to the 49 years in the original contract as well as a reduction of the parking tariff, which has been reduced to $50 per 15 minutes interval from “up to $125” per 15-minute interval.
The amendments were formally approved at a council statutory meeting on September 26, 2016, after which Town Clerk Royston King signed the contract on behalf of the city.
The parking meter deal was greeted with great controversy by the public since it was not publicly tendered. After criticism, President David Granger ordered a review be done to ascertain if there were any irregularities.
Two reviews were done on the deal: one by the Ministry of Finance and the other by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. The Ministry of Finance’s review harshly criticised the deal, while saying that government procurement rules may have been transgressed, while the AG’s review said the terms highly favoured the contractor.
The reviews, however, did not find the contract to be illegal and central government recommended only that the city renegotiate the contract after seeking the advice of an accountant.