The parking lots at two popular destinations and hiking trail entrances in North Vancouver will become pay parking starting early in 2021.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge Park and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park will see their parking lots become pay parking between March 1 and October 31.
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Both pay parking locations are being carried out on a seasonal basis, with Lynn Canyon under the jurisdiction of the District of North Vancouver and Lynn Headwaters under Metro Vancouver Regional District.
The municipal government’s pilot program scheme for Lynn Canyon over two years is coordinated with the regional district’s plans for Lynn Headwaters, just up river.
For Lynn Canyon, the municipal government states rates will begin at $3.00 for one hour, $6.00 for two hours, and $9.00 for the maximum of three hours to encourage turnover. District of North Vancouver residents are exempt from payment at this lot, as long as they apply for a parking season pass, which will be sold at a cost-neutral price covering administrative fees — with a limitation of one pass per household. Vehicles with a disability decal are exempt from payment.
Over at Lynn Headwaters, a rate of $2.00 per hour has been set by the regional district, but there will be no limit to the parking duration as this location is mainly used as a parking lot for longer hikes.
North Vancouver District states pay parking is needed as traffic at Lynn Canyon has increased considerably this year due to regional residents looking for outdoor recreational activities during COVID-19 health restrictions on indoor activities and events.
In a typical year, Lynn Canyon sees over one million visitors, with parking lot demand reaching 2,500 vehicles daily during summer periods. In 2017, a tour bus permitting system was introduced to help regulate the volume of visitors at the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre, which saw 90,000 visitors that year.
The 50-metre-high suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon is often used as the free alternative to the private attraction over the Capilano River.
On-street parking regulations in the Lynn Canyon area were also introduced in 2018 to better manage parking impacts in the residential neighbourhoods. With pay parking coming to Lynn Canyon, further on-street parking regulations are needed, such as resident parking-only areas and time-limited, with or without resident exemption.
The municipal government expects it will see between $250,000 and $480,000 in annual revenue from Lynn Canyon pay parking, with the assumption that 50% of North Vancouver district residents will apply for a season parking pass.
Parking revenue collected from Lynn Canyon collected be used by the municipality to invest back into parks under its jurisdiction, transportation demand management, and active transportation.
District council will return on this matter in the new year to discuss the pilot project and decide final details.
Last month, the regional district indicated there were over 14 million visits to regional parks for the year to date — an increase of 37% over 2019. In contrast, regional parks attracted 11 million to 12 million visits each year prior to the pandemic, with an average increase of 4% annually — more than twice the rate of local population growth.
The regional district is also planning to introduce pay parking at several other regional parks locations elsewhere in Metro Vancouver.