Exploring construction of a parkade and offering non-residents a parking decal for the off-season were among a slew of suggestions scheduled to come to White Rock council Monday, as ways of addressing parking concerns on the city’s waterfront.
The recommendations – considered after Peace Arch News’ press deadline Monday afternoon – were among 26 developed by members of the Mayor’s Pay Parking Task Force, which was established in February to explore options for the waterfront and surrounding area.
The move followed a December call for elimination of winter parking fees on Marine Drive by the city’s Business Improvement Association.
At the time, BIA executive director Sherri Wilson Morissette told council it didn’t make sense to charge for parking during the winter when several malls a short drive away do not.
But instead of free winter parking, the task force recommended extending the off-season to six months (Nov. 1 to April 30), increasing the hourly fee from $1 to $1.50 and implementing pay-parking hours that are consistent year-round, from 10 a.m. to midnight. Under the current system, winter visitors do not pay after 8 p.m.
While it’s estimated the changes to the off-season would cost the city about $44,000 in parking revenues annually, it’s believed revenue from a non-resident decal program would help recoup the loss.
The task force suggested the decals could be sold for $175 plus tax, and that the program offer buyers stays of up to four hours at a time.
“The financial impacts to the city are difficult to predict, however, it was recognized there is a market for such a program and it is a good incentive to attract more visitors to the waterfront during the off-season,” notes a report authored by Sandra Kurylo, the city’s director of financial services and one of 11 task force members.
The city currently charges $1/hour from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28, and $3/hour for the balance of the year.
It has, for years, struggled to find a pay-parking equation that satisfies the majority.
While the task force did not suggest increasing the peak-season fee, it did recommend the city explore promoting alternate ways of getting to the waterfront, including transit and hillside walkways, as well as a possible partnership with the Semiahmoo First Nation to make their parking lot part of the solution.