Free extended parking will soon be no more for drivers at a shopping plaza on the West Shore.
The controversial decision was made by Onni Group, the developer behind Colwood Corners — a shopping plaza on Sooke Road that’s home to various stores, including a pharmacy, grocery store, multiple banks, as well as apartment rentals.
Those visiting now have to register their vehicle’s license plate on Indigo Parking, and those who don’t could be handed a warning for the remainder of the month. Starting in April, however, illegal parkers could be ticketed.
The first 90 minutes are free, with a $1.25 per hour charge starting after that. Monthly passes are also available for a minimum $110.25 per month fee.
In a statement to CHEK News, Duncan Wlodarczak, chief of staff for Onni Group, says the move is to prevent the residential tenants in the building from taking up parking spaces long-term that are meant for people shopping in the plaza.
“[W]e need to be mindful of people keeping spaces available for individuals looking to patron our tenants, as opposed to local residents using commercial parking stalls for long term parking,” Wlodarczak said in the email statement. “The pay system will help ensure retail goers will have ongoing access to these stalls.”
We also understand the importance of the parking to the businesses, which is why we provided up to 90 minutes free for people visiting any local businesses.
Locals say they’re not happy with the move.
“I think it’s baloney,” Luna Gregg told CHEK News.
“This is a family community and we have had free parking here for a really long time,” she said. “The cost of things are not going down, so I think it just adds more financial stress to local families.”
Chad Villamil says he’ll be rethinking his method of transportation to the plaza, adding, “I don’t know their motives on this.”
Isabel Jardine lives at the Colwood Corners apartments and says while she doesn’t have a far commute to the plaza’s businesses, she does worry about how much this will impact them.
“There is no other plaza, I can’t think of anywhere close to the West Shore where they are charging for parking,” she said. “You’re potentially having to pay, you’re adding friction to the buying process. That’s really going to hurt the economy of the local area.”
According to Jardine, Colwood Corners apartments have limited visitor parking is available. She says residents will be negatively impacted by their visitors having to pay to stay.
“Now my friends have to pay if they want to stay with me longer than 90 minutes. I’m really concerned about the impact,” Jardine explained.
Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi was unavailable for an interview but did confirm Colwood Corners is private property, meaning the city doesn’t have much say on what happens. However, he is aware of the situation and says the city is investigating.