EDITORIAL: Waterfront parking a ‘pilot project’

EDITORIAL: Waterfront parking a ‘pilot project’

Successive White Rock councils have struggled with parking for years

The subject of waterfront parking is one that successive White Rock councils have struggled with for years.

The fact is there is no easy answer to setting rates and limits on parking along the Marine Drive strip – particularly as shortage of supply and the very existence of pay parking has frequently been blamed for any and all business hardships.

The current council, hewing to the well-intentioned efforts of a parking task force chaired by Coun. Christopher Trevelyan, is contemplating more free parking during weekdays in winter months following on the heels of this year’s decision to try a blanket free parking policy in February and March.

Yet, as Coun. David Chesney has suggested, there is no empirical evidence that free parking is the solution to business ills on the waterfront. Reports of increased revenues for businesses during this year’s experiment have yet to be supported by hard figures comparing February and March 2019 with the same months in 2018.

But the problem this year is even more convoluted. Marine Drive was only just emerging from a business-inhibiting construction period for the delayed Memorial Park upgrade when the catastrophic Dec. 20 storm extensively damaged the pier, one of the city’s bona fide tourist draws. Will that have an impact on summer visits, or will it be offset by events such as Canada Day By The Bay, Sea Festival and the TD Concerts For The Pier series?

At the same time, the completion of the new West Beach parkade has added many new parking spaces – more than 180 spaces in all – to the equation. But – as Trevelyan freely admitted at last week’s council meeting – no-one really knows how popular it will prove with visitors during the summer months.

Meanwhile city financial services director Sandra Kurylo is budgeting for a potential deficit in parking revenues for the year, even as optimists are keeping fingers crossed for a boost in revenues from increasing summertime rates to a maximum of $4 per hour.

When originally proposed and approved during the last administration, the parkade was considered for providing a cheaper parking alternative than the waterfront lots. The current parking task force has taken a different philosophical approach, including it in the “high demand” area where this premium parking rate would apply.

What is the correct approach? The answer is that no one really knows, and a clear picture of what the market will bear will only be available once the market has borne it this year. Until then, it’s a matter of guesswork, in which theoretical justification could be made for just about any figure pulled out of the air.

As Mayor Darryl Walker correctly observed, with all the variables currently in play this year, waterfront parking must continue to be seen as “a pilot project” – subject to a rethink, once this year’s figures are in.

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

Just Posted

Federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole speaks during a virtual South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce town hall on Saturday, March 6, 2021.
O’Toole says South Surrey, White Rock face ‘acute’ challenges during pandemic

Federal Conservative leader speaks at local chamber town hall

A sign encouraging COVID-19 safety steps, with the Bayside rugby clubhouse – located adjacent to Semiahmoo Secondary and the South Surrey track – in background; Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey sees 2,400 new COVID-19 cases in February

This is the lowest monthly increase since last fall

Liberty roses – created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert – will be planted in White Rock later this month. (Contributed photo)
‘Liberty Rose’ to be planted along Johnston Road and at White Rock City Hall

Poppy-like rose created by acclaimed rose breeder Brad Jalbert

South Surrey’s Kirk Arsenault has started a new company, Str8laced, that sells cleat wraps that aim to keep athletes’ shoes from coming untied during games and practices. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey sports equipment entrepreneur tying up loose ends before Alberta move

Str8laced wraps keep laces from coming loose in the middle of play, says Kirk Arsenault

Volunteers from Semiahmoo Secondary joined with members of the Lower Mainland Green Team and the White Rock and South Surrey Naturalists Wednesday to remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Students, volunteers remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park

Day-long project a collaboration between city, Lower Mainland Green Team

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Denise Stevenson

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read