Dismal response to White Rock’s off-season parking decal pilot program may be the result of high pricing, according to one city councillor.
“I think if we want to attract residents from the surrounding area we’re going to have to charge a lot less,” Coun. Helen Fathers said Thursday.
The program, launched last fall, offered off-season parking passes to non-residents at a cost of $175.
Implemented in the hopes of off-setting other changes made to the city’s oft-lamented pay-parking system, it needed to generate $45,000 – the equivalent of selling 250-260 passes.
July 29, council members meeting as the finance and audit committee learned the program nowhere near reached its target; that just eight of the decals had been sold since November – and none since January – for a total of $1,400.
The decal-sales target was set by the Mayor’s Pay Parking Task Force early last year, after members brainstormed ways to address ongoing concerns that pay parking was driving business and visitors away from Marine Drive.
The revenue was hoped to offset shifts to charge from 10 a.m. to midnight year-round (instead of 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. during the peak months) and split the year into two six-month seasons rather than charge peak rates ($3/hour) for eight months of the year.
The program is to be reviewed this fall, with council to decide if the decals will stay or be scrapped.
Fathers said while she had “a couple” of people ask about the off-season program, she can’t see it succeeding in its current form.
“Unless the figures change, I don’t see how we can keep running it,” she said. “I think the numbers kind of speak for themselves.”