On March 31 NIC board of governors voted to implement paid parking at the Comox Valley campus. The college originally told students this would protect the lots from hospital users; however, it has become clear that the purpose is to generate an estimated $180,000 in additional revenue. NIC has stated that having paid parking at other campuses wouldn’t work because students could just park in adjacent free lots – but what is stopping students from doing that here? Home Depot, businesses on Madrona, and homes on Mission Road will surely see the impact of this decision.
Currently, the proposed rate for four months of parking at North Island College is $160, or $400/year. In contrast, VIU in Nanaimo charges $150 for four months, or $300/year. Students at NIC are already faced with a new $5/credit (courses are three credits each) Learner Resource Fee and two per cent increase to tuition, so why is it fair to charge students an additional $400 to park at school? How can part-time students afford this? Why is it that a bigger university, in a bigger city, can charge less than what NIC proposes? NIC has stated that they want to “encourage greener alternatives to driving to school”; however, many students come from neighboring cities where bus service to the Valley is limited or non-existent, local transit is irregular, and in order to walk may face crossing four lanes of traffic on Ryan Road without a traffic light or crosswalk for safety.
NIC is not being up front as to the true purpose of paid parking at North Island College. With all of the extra fees that NIC is implementing, is it really fair to make an extra $180,000 on parking?