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White Rock leaders hopeful over pay-parking changes

Non-resident decals coming to White Rock waterfront for Nov. 1
White Rock waterfront parking changes will take effect on Nov. 1.

Changes are coming to pay parking on White Rock’s waterfront.

But Mayor Wayne Baldwin made it clear that further revisions at the urging of the White Rock Business Improvement Association will not be considered anytime soon.

“One thing I can promise you, we’re not going to be reviewing our rates again with the BIA during this term of office. This is it. Done. Finished,” he told council Monday.

The recommendations, which will be implemented Nov. 1 and include a $175 off-season, non-resident waterfront parking decal program, were approved that night.

While council members expressed excitement at the pilot program, concerns were raised about the use of the decals by employees of Marine Drive businesses.

“Staff will buy them. They will get around the four-hour limit by just moving cars to two different spots,” Baldwin said. “Hopefully, the merchants are on the lookout for that. I suspect the best parking spaces will be taken up by their own staff, especially in rainy weather.

“However, we’ll give it a try.”

For years, White Rock has struggled to find a pay-parking solution that satisfies both businesses and visitors. This week, council members said they hope that this payment structure – $3 an hour from May 1 to Oct. 31 and $1.50 an hour Nov. 1 to April 30 from 10 a.m to midnight – will be the one that sticks.

“We’ve gone back and forth with parking issues in this city for a number of years. We’ve had free parking in the winter, cheap parking in the winter,” Coun. Grant Meyer said.

“Hopefully, this will be the winning formula that will deliver certainty for business owners as well as guests coming from outside the city, so they know what to expect. Hopefully, this won’t change year after year after year. Hopefully, this is the formula that can carry on for many years.”

In order to offset the revenue lost by changing the parking structure, director of financial services Sandra Kurylo estimated the city needs to sell 250-260 non-resident decals.

Other changes set for Nov. 1 include price increases for resident decals to $40 from $30 and merchant parking decals to $300 from $265, as well as further discussions about a parking structure at the waterfront.

The increase in the rate for resident parking decals is to help offset a hefty increase by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway for use of the land, said Baldwin.

“We’re going to have to pay another $50,000 a year to Burlington Northern for the land and that amount is being picked up mostly by resident decals,” he said.

Currently the city pays $350,000 annually for the land, however that lease expires July 31, 2013.



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