Maxed Out 

Parking of the people, by the people, for the people

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The sad fact is we've pretty much done to the world what our dads did to our moms to bring this whole mess about in the first place. There are days I'm certain the best thing that could happen to the world would be for Boomers to just drift quietly into a coma of impoverished retirement and spend our last days sucking Big Gulps of Jim Jones Kool-Aid while watching reruns of Star Trek and The Beverly Hillbillies. Just compost us and hope the resulting land doesn't become a toxic bullshit dump.

Having said that, in for a penny, in for a pound. The Campagne de Fous lurches onward with this week's instalment: Plank #2 - Pay Parking.

Pay parking in Whistler has become a cause célèbre ... whatever that is. Phase I, launched last spring, was so poorly conceived one would be torturing the word to call it planned. Its logic brought to mind the infinite monkey theorem which, as we all recall, posits that a monkey randomly hitting the keys of a typewriter - whatever that is - for an infinite amount of time will eventually reproduce the works of Shakespeare. Fortunately, our municipal leaders pulled the plug on Phase I long before infinity; it just seemed to last that long.

Phase II is what we've got currently. I believe if we were to find that long-lived monkey and a typewriter and give him enough time, he might peck out a rough description of exactly what the difference is between Phase I and Phase II. Then we'd all know.

Phase III is a work in progress, progress being loosely defined as waiting around for a group of people you already know hate pay parking to tell you they hate pay parking so you can ignore them and get on with it.

Pay parking a la Max, begins with an exercise in democracy. Since Whistleratics hate paying for parking every time they go to the village, let's have a referendum. We have a rough idea in mind of how much we need to get from parking - and we're already more than a little pregnant here - so the choice is to pay for parking or raise it through property taxes. Question: I'm willing to see my residential/business taxes increase by $X in order to keep parking "free." Yes or no. Only taxpayers get to vote.

Now that that's been voted down, how do we get on with a more palatable version of pay parking. First ditch the machines. Replace them with attendant-personed booths at both entrances to the day skier lots and the conference centre. You park, you pay. You park an hour, you pay very little, say, a loonie. Park two hours, pay a twoonie. Park longer than that and you start paying a lot more, about the same daily rate as is currently in place.

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