By REBECCA SOARES
Students at Conestoga College can get to class by bus, on foot or by using their own vehicles, but the third option requires students to purchase a parking permit for either one or two semesters.
A permit for one semester at Conestoga’s Doon campus costs $262 and increases to $440 for two semesters. While school administrators may believe these to be reasonable prices, students at Conestoga College disagree.
“I think it (parking) should be free to all students since keeping my vehicle in their lot isn’t costing them a cent,” said Lucas Miller, a second-year broadcast radio student.
Shaunna Petts, a first-year pre-health student, said, “School tuitions are already a financial struggle as it is. I don’t see why we have to pay even more than we already do. I understand that the school has a reason for the money but none of the students can see what’s being done. It’s almost as though the purpose of the money is invisible.”
Janet Mannella, manager of occupational safety at Conestoga, was contacted for an interview, but she declined to comment because she said she has talked to Spoke about this issue in the past. In those articles, she said parking permit fees pay for parking lot maintenance which includes repairs, snowplowing and building new lots.
However, as Petts pointed out, students don’t associate the fees they pay with this maintenance work, and even if they did, they would still think the permits are too expensive.
Other post-secondary institutions have cheaper prices for parking at their locations. For instance, Wilfrid Laurier University charges $339 for two semesters of parking and Niagara College charges $270 for both semesters. Fanshawe College’s parking permits are $338 for eight months.
“When you look at the flat rate for parking permits in other schools you also need to consider how many students that school has,” said Aimee Calma, Conestoga Students Inc. president. “While they may have cheaper permits, it all depends on how large the school truly is. While making anything cheaper for Conestoga students would help them stress less (in regards to) financial stress, this is the rate that the school has set.”
If the price of permits at Conestoga bothers you, you can talk to a CSI board of director. Although nothing will come of it this year, if enough students complain, perhaps a freeze on the price, or even a reduction, will be considered in the future.