Beach goers driving to Spanish Banks will need to pay for parking along the beach beginning this spring.
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The Vancouver Park Board says it will be implementing pay parking along the popular beach in West Point Grey on a peak season basis beginning at the start of April and closing at the end of September.
Parking stalls will go for $3.50 per hour or $13 per day while a seasonal pass will be $87 for the duration of the season.
But why is it changing now after being free for decades?
Stuart Mackinnon told Daily Hive it will “bring Spanish Banks in line with other beaches and destination facilities” that have pay parking. The rates will be the same as Jericho Beach, Kitsilano Beach, Stanley Park, and Queen Elizabeth Park, which were all previously $3.25 per hour until this year’s hike.
“Nearly 40% of our budget at the Park Board comes from fees and charges for programs, so of course this allows us to do things like clean the beaches, to have lifeguards, to maintain the parking lots and change rooms at beaches, and of course all of the parks and gardens,” said Mackinnon.
The Park Board’s budget for 2018 is $122.8 million, with $7.73 million coming from parking revenues – up 7.1% over the previous year and an increase of 38% over 2014.
Some residents who frequent Spanish Banks and are displeased with the Park Board’s decision have created a petition calling for Park Board commissioners to abandon the plan.
“We are told that parking is charged at other beaches like Kits and Jericho, but there’s a reason. Those beaches both have limited parking and far easier public transport and bike access,” reads the petition.
“Spanish Banks is long and has a great deal of parking. People come to Spanish Banks by car because it is by far the easiest way to get there, especially for large families, the elderly, disabled or people with BBQ’s or other beach gear.”
The petition also questions the real need of raising new revenue for the upkeep of Park Board facilities.
“We are told that the Park Board needs to raise money to pay for upkeep and they rely on these fees. Then the question is, how on earth has the Park Board managed for all these years while Spanish Banks has been free? Is there some other reason their budget requires this new source of income? Could it be poor fiscal management or simply a matter of priorities?”
Rates for parking operated by the City of Vancouver increased and were extended later into the evening ahead of the 2010 Olympics. Free parking continues to disappear, with pay parking recently implemented in the West End and the Olympic Village.