The return of metered parking looms on the horizon as the city council, having voted largely in favour of accepting the recommendations of the parking meter renegotiation committee, will move on to amending the contract and reconstructing the by-laws.
Mayor Patricia Chase-Green indicated yesterday that it remains uncertain how long this process will take, as the Minister of Communities would be required to accept the new by-laws once they are developed. She stated that the duration of the process is dependent on the councilors.
However, councilor Sherod Duncan anticipates that metered parking could return in as little as one to two months.
Duncan, along with Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran, have been vocal in their opposition to the metered parking contract between Smart City Solutions (SCS) and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).At an extraordinary meeting held last Wednesday, the two, along with PPP/C councillors Khame Sharma and Bhishram Kuppen, voted against accepting the recommendations of the parking meter renegotiation committee, which had, among other things, renegotiated for a decrease in price for parking in the city.
“I believe that unfortunately the city councillors who voted for the parking meter measures and the amendments to the contract, they’re on the wrong side of history, because the majority of persons in Georgetown you talk to on a daily basis do not like this contract. Nobody is against parking meters per se—regulating the trafficking and all the benefits you can get from parking meters—but this contract which parking meters stem from as a traffic management tool is a flawed contract from the inception and that is what people don’t like—the fact that the contract has been shrouded in secrecy and a whole bunch of other stuff…this is not a good contract for the city,” Duncan, in an invited comment stated yesterday.
He opined that renegotiation of the contract “cannot change an illegality” in the minds of those who have opposed it from the inception, and said that from the beginning the contract should have been brought before the full council, and then the tendering process should have followed.
Retendering the contract, he indicated, is the only acceptable solution.
“We cannot say that SCS is the best option for parking meters in Georgetown if we have not…seen what we could have gotten through the tender process,” he stated.
“…If personally I gotta go back out on the street to protest, that is it, because I’m an elected representative of Georgetown and the citizens of Georgetown don’t like this contract…” said Duncan.
Duncan added that the vision of the council and central government seem to be at odds. He referenced a sustainable urban transport study done on Georgetown, including metered parking, which he opined is focused in the opposite direction from which the council seems to want to go.
Perhaps the biggest opposition to the contract (which began with a 49-year agreement, which was later amended to 20 years) involving the city and SCS is the “terror clause” which states that were the agreement to be unilaterally terminated by the city, they would be required to “pay the concessionaire a lump sum payment equivalent to (i) the total direct and indirect, hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the concessionaire in the project; plus (ii) an amount equal to 25% of the direct and indirect hard and soft cost cumulative gross investment of the concessionaire in the project; multiplied by the number of years (or fraction) remaining under the term…(iii) the reasonable out of pocket and documented costs and expenses incurred by the concessionaire as a direct result of such termination.”
According to the final report from the renegotiation committee, part of the new agreement between the two parties is that the burden to be borne by the city should the contract be terminated will be far “less burdensome”.
“Smart City Solutions agreed that the lump sum payment required by the City for the unilateral termination will no longer be calculated by number of years (or fraction thereof), and further the conditions for unilateral termination will be adjusted to become less burdensome on the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown.