File photo Parking could be free on White Rock’s waterfront during winter months, according to a bylaw scheduled for adoption by council on May 27, but the cost would be a higher hourly rate during summer.

Free winter parking, higher summer rates eyed for White Rock waterfront

Councillor calls for more hard data on the impact of trial free parking on Marine Drive businesses

Parking on the White Rock waterfront could be free on weekdays during the winter season, if new rates being considered by council are implemented.

But no-charge winter parking would come at the price of a higher hourly rate during the summer in ‘high-demand zones’ closer to businesses and Memorial Park.

In a bylaw amendment, which was given three readings at council’s May 13 regular meeting but is – as yet – not adopted, parking from November through February would be free Monday to Friday, and cost $2 per hour on Saturday and Sunday.

For the ‘shoulder season’ months of March and October, on-street and waterfront-lot parking would be $2 per hour, seven days a week.

The contemplated rates would also apply to the Montecito parkade and the newly-opened West Beach parkade.

Under the same bylaw – drafted following recommendations of the city’s Parking Task Force – parking would rise to $4 per hour in the high-demand zones (all lots east of Oxford Street to the Hump, including the parkades) between April and September.

During those months, the parking rate for a ‘value-priced zone’ (lots west of Oxford) would be set at $3.50 per hour.

Also under consideration is a daily rate for the Montecito and West Beach parkades of $15, from April through September.

As proposed in the bylaw, the daily rate for the parkades would fall to $7.50 during the shoulder season months of March and October, and the same price on weekends during winter months (with weekdays free).

There would also be a maximum four-hour stay in the high-demand zone, with the exception of the parkades.

The bylaw is scheduled for final reading and adoption at council’s next regular meeting, on May 27.

At last week’s meeting, Coun. Christopher Trevelyan, who chaired the Parking Task Force committee, countered two of its recommendations in an amending motion, which was then supported by the majority of council.

Trevelyan said he could not endorse the committee’s suggested blanket rate of $20 per day for the parkades (“I thought that $15 in the summer and $7.50 in the winter would be a good starting point,” he said), nor its suggestion that pay parking should start at 8 a.m. year round (rather than the 10 a.m. to midnight time period currently in effect). Coun. Helen Fathers also voiced opposition to an 8 a.m. start time.

In presenting the task force recommendations, Trevelyan noted that, while one argument is that the city should optimize parking revenue during the summer to pay for free winter parking, “as a council, we may want to consider carefully when these rate changes happen.” And he acknowledged that no one knows, at this point, how the public will respond to parking offered at the new West Beach parkade.

In supporting the suggested changes to parking rates, Mayor Darryl Walker suggested that pay parking on the waterfront must still be considered “a pilot project,” subject to further adjustment as more information is gathered during the year.

The sole vote against the amended bylaw came from Coun. David Chesney, who said he wanted to see hard data on the effects of this year’s trial of free parking on the waterfront during February and March before voting on further pay-parking changes.

“We have a giant new equation in pay parking on the waterfront, called the parkade, (and) no idea what the revenue is going to be generated off that, and you’re trying to make decisions on the future without that,” he said. “I can’t even find a word to describe it without being disrespectful…

“We, as elected officials, have a duty to the citizens of White Rock for fact-based (decisions),” he said later.

In a motion made by Chesney, and passed on Feb. 25, council had asked staff and the White Rock BIA to provide a facts-and-figures overview on Marine Drive businesses’ take during the free parking period.

As recalled by Chesney, it was to have been based on a sample of two businesses on West Beach and two on East Beach.

Chesney described as “anecdotal evidence” information offered by the BIA – via Trevelyan – that seven retail, restaurant and service businesses on West Beach and two on East Beach had reported their revenue numbers were up between 20 and 26 per cent during February and March, adding that he needed to see the report as originally requested.

Chesney’s call for data was supported by Fathers and Coun. Scott Kristjanson, who said more numbers might have enabled council to find a “sweet spot” which would have balanced parking revenue against the need to support business.

Although Trevelyan noted businesses were sensitive about divulging their numbers, Chesney countered that he would have no problem with figures submitted anonymously.

“We don’t have to see the business name. I would like to see the books, February and March, year to year,” he said. “Let’s find out if this (suspension of) pay parking really does increase revenue to our businesses.”

Trevelyan promised to provide the information to Chesney before the final vote is called.

Financial services director Sandra Kurylo estimated the loss of revenue to the city due to free parking during February and March at $182,000.

But she also told council it is difficult to predict how potential parking revenues for the rest of 2019 will offset free parking and ongoing operation costs, due to changes in rates and parking supply.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former White Rock mayor, MP shares community connections via YouTube

Gordie Hogg aims to highlight those who’ve impacted South Surrey, White Rock

Surrey Fire Fighters Charitable Society doing ‘better than we were expecting’ amid COVID-19

At one point, the board thought it might have a donation shortfall of $250,000

Delta artist John Horton named to Order of British Columbia

Honour for significant contributions made to the appreciation and safety of B.C.’s coastal history

Wrong-way driver triggers multi-vehicle collision on Highway 99 in South Surrey

Police received multiple reports of vehicle heading north in southbound lanes

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

FURTHER UPDATE: Body removed from Maple Ridge hotel after large police presence

A large contingent of Mounties were at the Art Infiniti Hotel Friday afternoon and evening

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read

l -->