Ottawa - The ongoing debate over a casino in Ottawa took a back seat today as the city of Ottawa installed new “Park N’ Play” slot machine parking meters on the streets of Ottawa in a pilot project to see what kind of revenue and reactions the one armed bandit meters produce.
Motorists parking on city streets between Elgin-Bank street and Wellington-Catherine were faced with the unique challenge of testing their luck when paying for parking on city streets. Plugging in the usual coins for parking rates and a swift pull of the lever gave motorists a chance to win free parking if they had a triple seven appear.
The new pilot project will test residents reaction to a proposed casino in the downtown core and see what kind of revenue can be gained as well as allow motorists the chance to enjoy the exhilaration of gambling fun with a chance to win free parking, discounted future parking or even hit the jackpot of winning free parking for a year.
Some motorists parking at the new park n’ play slot parking meters welcomed the unique approach to city parking while others thought it was a detriment to the city. “I kinda like the idea I can get free parking if I pull the lever.” said Julie Kimmons, 24, who parked downtown this morning. “It’s kinda fun and exciting to watch the parking meter operate like a slot machine and have sound effects and everything.” remarked Kimmons. Other motorists, such as Frank Hardy, expressed disdain for the new slot meters, describing them as “a blight on our streets” and “a vision of things to come with the looming casino”.
The new Park ‘N Play slot parking meters operate like regular parking meters but require the user to pull the lever on the side to activate the parking validation process, which will produce a normal parking chit, or if you’re lucky, produce free or discounted parking. Three cherries gives 30 minutes free parking, while a triple 7 produces a free parking for a year voucher.
The pilot project will run until December 31 when it will be decided if the effort was worthwhile and test public reaction to a possible casino in Ottawa.