There will be some changes to parking in Downtown Penticton, but it will remain free along Lakeshore Drive and at Skaha Lake Park, council determined, Tuesday.

Free parking will be a thing of the past in many parts of Penticton’s downtown core effective Jan. 1.

City council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to raise the hourly rate from $1.25 to $2, plus expand the program to commercial areas where it’s currently free to park.

The capital cost is $175,000, which will cover the purchase of 135 new meter heads and 11 new pay machines. The new meter heads will be assigned mostly to Front Street, Ellis Street and the 400 to 600 blocks of Main Street, while five of the new pay machines will be installed on the revitalized blocks of Main Street and the other seven will replace older models.

Also included in the capital cost is some line painting and promotional signage for a smartphone app through which people can pay for parking.

No new staff will be required, and it’s estimated the expansion of paid parking will bring in an extra $700,000 per year, according to Blake Laven, the city’s director of development services.

“Financial realities have challenged us to look at options for balancing the budget. Expanding the metered parking program and raising these rates modestly is an effective way to address these shortfalls,” Laven told council.

Staff originally proposed a more ambitious expansion that would have dinged drivers visiting beaches and parks on Skaha and Okanagan lakes, but council rejected that idea in the face of public opposition.