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White Rock pay-parking break 'would raise taxes'

White Rock financial services director Sandra Kurylo addresses council Feb. 20. - Dan Ferguson photo
White Rock financial services director Sandra Kurylo addresses council Feb. 20.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson photo

Giving people a break on waterfront parking fees – including free parking after dusk –  would cost the City of White Rock $625,000 a year, a city staff report estimates.

The cost assessment of the proposal by the local Business Improvement Association (BIA) was presented to council last week.

The BIA wanted a new system of seasonal rates that would allow free parking at all hours from Monday to Thursday during the winter, with a dollar-an-hour rate during daytime hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

So-called mid-season parking would extend the dollar-an-hour rate to seven days a week from February to April, with rates rising to $3 during the summer season from May to September.

In her report, city director of financial services Sandra Kurylo estimated the impact on the city budget would require a 3.6 per cent increase in property taxes to make up the loss, if no alternate funding could be found.

Under questioning by council, Kurylo said staff were unable to identify any source of new money that could cover the shortfall.

Kurylo also investigated a suggestion that would extend the current seasonal reduction of waterfront parking rates from $3 an hour to $1 from November until February to include March and April. She found that measure would cost the city $185,300, requiring a 1.07 per cent tax hike to cover the difference.

Neither proposal seems to have much support among members of council based on the reaction last week.

“Absolutely not,” said Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson of both plans.

She said people coming to a “resort city” will not be deterred by paying to park at night.

“This is worth coming to see and pay,” Anderson said.

Coun. Larry Robinson said White Rock rates are not out of line with other Lower Mainland destinations.

“I don’t really see a problem charging people $3 for a night out,” Robinson said.

No decision was made on the proposals.

The report has been sent to get feedback from the newly-created Mayor’s Task Force on Parking, that includes representatives from the city, BIA and Waterfront Merchant’s Association.

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