SASKATOON – A report heading to Saskatoon city council is recommending Afghanistan war veterans be included in the city’s free parking program for veterans.
The report to the administration and finance committee initially rejected extending the program to Afghan vets, saying it was only intended to run for a limited time when it was announced in 2005 as part of Year of the Veteran.
Members of the committee voted unanimously in favour of including all veterans.
“It is a small gesture on our part as city council and administration to be able to provide that parking service to those individuals that have sacrificed so much,” said ward 1 councillor Darren Hill.
A letter to council from Lt.-Col. Tony Engelberts in February 2013 asked for Afghanistan vets to be included in the program as they had served proudly alongside veterans of other conflicts.
The program was made permanent in 2007 and currently covers soldiers who served in the First or Second World wars, the Korean War, NATO or UN peacekeeping missions who live within a 30 kilometre radius of Saskatoon.
There are currently 526 permits that have been issued for the program and it is estimated that number will increase by 100 with the addition of the Afghan vets.
The free parking program costs the city about $32,000 a year to operate and adding the Afghanistan veterans will increase the cost to $40,000 a year.
The report will go to city council for final approval.
With files from The Canadian Press