The Vancouver Park Board has offered a compromise over its plans to introduce pay parking at Spanish Banks Beach, the only beach in the city that has free parking, during the peak season.
This is in response to widespread opposition the plan has received over the past few weeks, including an online petition that has amassed nearly 11,000 signatures at the time of writing.
In a release issued this afternoon, the Park Board says the pay parking season has been shortened by a total of six weeks. The plan initially called for pay parking from April 1 to September 30, but the modified plan will instead see pay parking start on May 19 (Victoria Day long weekend) and end on September 3 (Labour Day).
This aligns with the lifeguard season, the operating season of most concession stands and outdoor pools, and the seasonal community bus shuttle service provided by TransLink’s 42 Alma/Spanish Banks route.
There will also be free early morning parking between 6 to 9 am during the peak season to mitigate impacts to beach users who are “fond of early morning beach walks” and provide “free morning access for dog walkers.”
Rates for parking during the peak season are set at $3.50 per hour, $13 per day, or $87 for a peak season pass.
All parking at Spanish Banks will remain free throughout the off-season between Labour Day and May long weekend.
The Park Board says pay parking is being implemented to help support the operational and maintenance costs of its parks, beaches, and facilities.
Over 40% of the Park Board’s annual operating budget comes from fees and charges, with $7.73 million coming from parking revenues – up 7.1% over the previous year and an increase of 38% over 2014.