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The City of Yellowknife announced this week that public transit riders and drivers using parking meters will get a bit of relief as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A notice from the city’s social media account stated that effective March 24, transit fees will be waived for the time being to provide assistance to users. There has been no date set as to when this will be concluded.

Mayor Rebecca Alty said a big part of the decision is to help ensure basic services continue in the city, including things like employment, child care and residents accessing health care.

“We did decide to provide free transit because we understood some people do still have to go to work,” she said. “So we wanted to make sure (the transit) option was available while we limited interaction with the driver, maintained social distancing and ensured the safety around the handling of money.”

As for parking meter fees, the decision was made to help free up bylaw enforcement and fee collection and ensure staff could be free to be deployed elsewhere as needed by the city during an emergency.

The city began offering free parking until further notice based on a social media post this week.
March 24, 2020

At the same time, the city has added reserve meters – which are the bagged parking meters – that allow for special parking. There are bagged meters on 48 Street to allow for patient access to the primary care clinic.

There are also bagged meters in close proximity to health clinics to allow for health care workers to reach their essential workplaces easily.

The City of Yellowknife using blue reserve bags on some parking meters in the downtown core to help provide access to health clinics. This will help patients access services as well as help health care professionals access their workplace.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

Other fees being waived 

Senior Administrative Officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett said on Monday night that other fees are being waived at the city to help residents concerned about their finances – namely penalties and overdue fees.

“We know people are under pressure in terms of their ability to be able to pay bills whether it is a water bill or people coming up to look at property tax bills,” she said.

“While we are continuing to issue those bills and keep on a schedule for property taxes, we are very sensitive and very aware to some of pressures and the anxieties residents in our community are under right now. So we are waiving any penalties and any overdue fees to recognizing people need to assess some of their current financial situation at home.”

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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