Tag Archives: parking

HST: One Week In & How It Affects the Little Guy

The provincial government’s disregard for the overwhelming dissent over the HST is no surprise. After all, Campbell has disregard the public in many ways since he took office, arrogantly being above the law even in his drunk driving charge. Let’s not get into all the politics but his minions…I mean ministers, have touted the HST and are now trying to tell us how good it will be, how it will create jobs, how it won’t affect the common person very much at all. So, let’s take a look at how it has affected me in one week.

  • I bought a bottle of wine at the liquor store. The liquor tax is gone and that was 10% but the HST is on there with 12%
  • I went out for dinner with friends. Whereas that used to have the liquor tax of 10% on the alcohol and the GST of 5% on the food, there is now 12% tax overall. I’m not sure I can figure out all the math but that means there is now 7% more tax on food and 2% more tax on alcohol.
  • I worked out at the gym. Whereas that just had GST before, it now has HST, an increase of 7% in taxes.
  • I bought a chocolate bar. This used to have 5% on it but now has HST of 12%. I am firmly opposed to any tax on food, whether it’s a luxury item or junk food because it says only the rich get to eat cake. I guess we could call Harper’s government the Marie Antoinette of era. I just wonder when we can lop off the head.
  • I pay for parking at my job. Now this one is the killer. TransLink, an arm of the provincial government upped all parking taxes (whether monthly parking, part of your apartment, on the street or at your job) from 7% to 21%. They said they weren’t raising the PST because that didn’t stand for provincial sales tax; it stood for parking sales tax, but still an increase of 14% on January 1st. Well, guess what, there are other hidden taxes, plus HST and someone I know who works in the business says that taxes on parking anywhere are now 35.5%! How’s that for a hefty hidden extra tax. If you pay $5 for an hour of parking it will cost you $6.78. Now multiply that by your monthly rate. If you pay $100, with taxes you pay $135.50.

This is just one week’s worth of taxes going up. I’m really really waiting for the provincial government to convince me on how it won’t affect me much and actually bring in jobs. They say it but they don’t say how or where. I’d love to hear how other average people are being affected by this.

Update September: You’ll pay more for postage in BC because of the HST. That’s Canadian postage, which should be the same price across Canada but it isn’t. Candy and other food that hits some esoteric guideline; it’s now double taxed. Keys…need one cut, you’ll now pay more in GST. Did I mention that parking in Greater Vancouver is taxed with 35% taxes? Can’t figure it out; ask your government how PST and GST equals that rate.

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Parking Nazis: The Price You Pay

Parking in Vancouver has been annoying for a long time and is probably this way in most major cities. In some areas there are two (0r one) hour parking zones but they are few and far between and becoming more limited. These are usually in residential areas with high populations, such as the West End or around any commercial streets. The two-hour zones have gone down in recent years as the city puts in more and more metered parking.

Right now those meters run at about $4 an hour. That’s a lot of change but you can pay by cell phone with many of them. However, it was only a year or two ago that the city raised the price of parking, including their EasyPark lots. EasyPark’s mandate is supposed to be affordable parking and while the city said they were raising meter parking to encourage people to not stay in those spots too long and open them up for others, there was no reason to raise the price of parkade and lot parking. Except there’s that Olympic thing, and the deficits that would not happen.

So here we are a year or so later and the city is talking about raising street parking again, to cover their budget deficits. And we all know, once a price goes up it rarely if ever goes down. It will be $6/hour at least. You can bet the city-run EasyPark parkades will follow suit or be ordered to do so. If they really wanted to help with encouraging people to leave their cars at home, then running the SkyTrain later that 12:30 would help and lowering the price of the transit fair especially for going to the downtown core would be an incentive. I believe Calgary does this.

But what’s even a more surprising and sneaky move, voted on quietly behind closed doors was that TransLink will be raising the tax on parking in the New Year. How can one raise a tax when the PST and GST are set amounts. Well, TransLink thinks they are a power unto themselves and have voted in to raise the PST to 21%. How they can do this when it’s legislated by the government? I don’t know but I’d like some answers. So consider this: when you park anywhere in the lower mainland next year, if it’s run by EasyPark or possibly even the metered parking, the cost will reflect 26% in taxes (5% GST). How this will change with the GST might be even higher.

Translink has said they don’t have the money to build anymore lines but were still spending millions on doing the studies. Well now we know where those millions and where those possible future lines will come from: nearly a third from people’s pockets just for taxes and illegally done at that. They are an arm of the provincial government I believe though it’s been hard to find that and the provincial Liberals are overbugdget on the Olympics too.

Let’s add in that the government will be taxing us on things not previously taxed with the HST and you’re looking at a province that won’t be spending as much. If you eat at a restaurant with ther liquor tax and the HST, that’s going to be at least 12% plus 15% tip and that will be near 30% on every food bill. If you’re parking, it will be nearly 30% on every parking spot.

We’ve hit a new era and the only thing difference between TransLink, or the provincial government and a thug’s is they’re not holding guns to our heads but they’re robbing us on the sly nonetheless. If you don’t want to be taxed to death, protest the HST, write your MLA and MP and ask for accountability from TransLink. If every merchant of anything refused to charge HST, then the government would be stuck but in this case being Canadian will be our downfall, where we’re too polite to truly protest.



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Parking Lot Peculiarities

I’ve always maintained that you can tell how a person drives by the way they shop (parking their buggy in the middle of the aisle, weaving from side to side, stopping suddenly) but perhaps that hybrid of parking to shop shows how one drives and in general thinks.

Most parking lots (unless you’re at the airport) are relatively close to the stores, yet people will circle like sharks, looking for that space that puts them two feet closer. Some people may also drive a couple of blocks to the store and I guess there’s no help for it that they’ll park as close as possible because they’re too lazy to get the blood flowing.

Albeit some people have health issues that require them to park close, but most of us don’t and can easily walk a few extra feet. If it’s raining, then yeah, we sometimes wimp out and huddle in closer. But I find it kind of silly when people are selfishly vying for close spots and there’s one at the end of a row. Then you get the people who will steal the spot from the person patiently waiting and signalling.

People often park like they’re in their own driveway, parking at an angle or over the line so that it encroaches on the other parked cars. On the street I had two cars once box me in so tightly that I had no more than two inches behind and two inches in front. I still managed to get out of the spot but it took a long time. Of course, this is an extension of what I see as the me-me-me culture where everyone only thinks of themselves and not how their thoughtlessness might affect others.

Parking lots themselves can add to the insanity of shoppers, depending on their design. The worst one I’ve seen is the idiocy of the Silver City theaters in Coquitlam. The lot is bisected by a center road so if you want to go across to look for a spot on the other side, you have to deal with traffic in and out. Plus each side does not have through lanes on every lane so you end up having to back out of a dead end. This was complicated by the recent mega snowfalls where parking spots were filled with snow and end lanes were half their size. An then some guy decided to park in the middle of the lane and just saunter away. I envisioned doing terrible things to his truck.

The best parking lot for being completely plowed (with hills of snow reaching 12 feet where they had to dump it) and for layout are the new Costcos. The one in Burnaby has an easy layout for getting in and out without running into people. The lanes are wide and there is extra space around each car (I’d say up to two feet per side) for maneuvering those monster buggies. It’s actually bliss, as much as I hate crowded malls and parking spots.

Now if people actually practised courtesy, on the road, in the malls and in the parking lots, we probably would all have a few more smiles.

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Shopping Cart Drivers

I’ve always believed that you can tell a way a person drives by the way they use a shopping cart. The same self-centered me-me-me attitude is exhibited, where no one else exists in the world but that one shopper, or driver.

Shopping aisles become completely blocked if two carts are side by side or if someone stops their cart in the middle of the ailse, at an angle, and then fills the rest of the space with their body. They’re oblvious to the fact that anybody else may be trying to move through that space. You can bet if they drive and park their car in the parking lot, that they park over the line, on an angle, taking up two spaces.

Those shoppers, with or without carts, who meander down aisles also tend to weave back and forth, chosing neither the right-hand nor the left-hand path and making it impossible for anyone to pass them. I’ve seen drivers doing the same thing on the road, turning into the lane but straddling it without choosing a lane.

There are also those shoppers who walk along and stop abruptly, causing you to walk up their legs. Or they might suddenly turn around and run right into you. Ever been behind someone driving along in a nice steady flow and for no reason they hit their brakes? Enough said.

In both cases we have examples of people who are inconsiderate. They do not look at any space they occupy as also having other people in it. The self-serving person never considers if their actions affect anyone else and believes they have the sole and proprietary right to do whatever they please. No matter what anyone thinks, we don’t live in a bubble. Consider those around you and they might just consider you.

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