File photo A final decision on setting waterfront parking rates has been delayed by White Rock council for further consultation with the parking task force.

White Rock waterfront parking rate decision delayed

Discussion of free winter parking on hold for two weeks

White Rock council will not be discussing, or making a decision, on new waterfront parking rates until its June 24 regular meeting.

Final reading of a bylaw amendment on waterfront parking rates was postponed May 27, at the suggestion of parking task force chair Coun. Christopher Trevelyan, who said he felt that further consultation with the task force was needed before a vote was taken.

While further discussion of the bylaw was expected to take place at Monday night’s meeting (June 10), Tracey Arthur told Peace Arch News Monday the soonest the parking task force could reconvene was Thursday (June 13).

“I’d love to be able to get things done quickly, but we have to get this right,” Trevelyan told council at the May 27 meeting, at which the vote was scheduled to be taken on final reading of the amendment to the city’s fees and charges bylaw.

Under the amendment as it stands, parking on the waterfront would be free Monday to Friday during the November to February ‘winter season,’ and $2 per hour on weekends (with the fee changing to a daily $2 rate in the ‘shoulder’ months of October and March).

The trade-off would be an increase in the rate during the April to September summer season to $4 per hour in ‘high demand’ zones, including all lots, the parkade and on-street parking, and $3.50 per hour in a value-priced zone west of Oxford Street.

But Trevelyan said that his own personal canvassing of Marine Drive business owners had shown a “50-50 split” in opinions of whether the change would be effective.

His motion for a deferment until he had had further chance to confer with other members of the task force was approved unanimously by council.

Coun. David Chesney’s related request for more detailed business data linked to the city measure of granting free waterfront parking in February and March of this year was met earlier in the meeting by White Rock BIA executive director Alex Nixon.

But Nixon’s findings did not offer conclusive proof of the effectiveness of free parking in supporting Marine Drive business.

Nixon said that of three waterfront businesses canvassed for figures anonymously, two had reported higher revenues over the same two months in 2018 – but one had actually shown a decline in revenues, even while experiencing a significant increase in foot traffic.

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