The City of Sault Ste. Marie is preparing to install a mobile-phone payment option on its solar-powered pay-and-display parking machines downtown.
City officials have had initial discussions with Honk Mobile, a Toronto-based app and e-commerce website that lets drivers search for, reserve, pay for and top up parking spots from anywhere.
But Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services, says other vendors offer parking apps and a request for proposals will be issued.
The Sault currently has 19 pay-and-display units, all in the core area and all manufactured by J.J. MacKay Canada Ltd. of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
Last night, City Council approved buying an additional 20 units for $151,279.
Sam Piraino, manager of transit and parking, recommended that the purchase be single-sourced to ensure standardization and compatibility with existing equipment and services.
Adding a mobile phone payment option to the units would not require additional investment from the city as the cost of mobile solutions is usually covered by a service charge, Piraino said.
At the request of Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Shoemaker, the city is also looking into selling advertising space on the back of paper parking slips dispensed by pay-and-display machines.