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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey’s former Flamingo Hotel goes out with a bang

The Flamingo opened in July 1955 as a motor hotel with 20 rooms

Rocky Mountain high: Surrey’s Burzan picked in NHL draft by Colorado Avalanche

Guildford-raised forward currently in WHL with Brandon Wheat Kings

Queen Elizabeth students hit $100K in donations to Surrey Hospital Foundation

Secondary students have been raising funds for a decade through the Roots & Rhythms event

City hopes Surrey’s new energy centre will be ‘a window’ into sustainability

Facility’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read