A new fee for resident/visitor parking permits introduced by the City of White Rock will start hitting residents in the pocketbook in November.
While renewing pay parking decals ($46 annually) – which allow parking on the waterfront and at Centennial Park – they will also be charged $12 a year for each resident/visitor permit.
To this point, the permits, which allow residents or their visitors to park on the street in permit-only areas, adjacent to pay-parking areas, have been provided free, up to a limit of four per residence.
The new measure, approved by council in September, means residents who have made regular use of four permits will now be expected to pay an extra $48 per year for the same parking privileges.
City communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi pointed out the change has been necessitated by a need to develop a strategy to deal with increasingly limited street parking.
“We anticipate with the introduction of $12 resident parking permits, combined with other improvements to the City’s permit parking program, parking behaviour will begin to change, reducing the demand for street parking in certain areas and alleviating the parking concerns residents have raised with the city,” she told Peace Arch News by email Monday.
In a report to council in July, financial services director Sandra Kurylo noted that delegations and petitions from residents finding it increasingly difficult to find parking in front of their homes have called for expansion of permit-only areas, particularly around Peace Arch Hospital.
“Rather than dealing with… requests on a piecemeal basis, staff began examining this situation from a broader perspective,” she wrote, also noting that “permit parking in the city has become a complex matter.”
“Experience has been that when a new block is designated permit parking only, the issue moves over to the next block, so it really does not get resolved,” she wrote.
“In addition to continuing discussions with Peace Arch Hospital representatives, staff are in the process of reviewing best practices and developing options for a city-wide approach to better manage the limited street parking available in the longer run.”
Kurylo pointed out that, under the current system, there is no way of tracking how many permits have been issued to each property; that permit cards are easily duplicated and that there have been complaints that some residents are giving or selling cards to unauthorized users.
“Instituting a fee… might cause price sensitive residents to re-consider the need for four or more permits, thus reducing the impact on street parking and possible abuse from selling or giving them to visitors who are not residents or visitors of the designated areas,” she wrote.