Park users in the Capital Regional District (CRD) will have to wait a little longer to find out if they must pay to park in several local parks.
The proposal to implement paid parking at nine parks, including East Sooke Regional Park and Matheson Lake, was on the committee’s agenda Wednesday, but the CRD’s communications manager, Andy Orr, says they “ran outta time.”
There was no committee recommendation, so the proposal has temporarily stalled until it’s discussed further at an Oct. 11 meeting, according to Orr.
The potential fees, which the CRD says were determined by averaging rates across the region and B.C., will go toward upgrading trails.
Short-term, two-hour parking would cost $2 through 2026, while daily parking would start at $2.25 and increase to $7 in three years. A season parking pass would jump to $60 in 2026.
CRD board chair Colin Plant told CHEK News Tuesday it’s a “potential” non-tax-based option to generate funds.
TUESDAY STORY: Paid parking may soon come to several CRD parks
Other parks where paid parking could be implemented include Devonian Park, Mill Hill Regional Park, Horth Hill, Sooke Hills Wilderness (south access), Sea to Sea Park, Elk and Beaver Lake, and Witty’s Lagoon.
They were selected because they’re easily accessible by transit, walking or cycling, as highlighted in the CRD’s Regional Parks and Trail Strategic Plan.
But locals aren’t happy about the potential fees, including Diana Lilly. Speaking with CHEK News Tuesday, the frequent Elk/Beaver Lake user said: “Adding another cost for families, for people to get their kids out in nature and to the lake, I think it’s preposterous.”
Plant argues parking fees are nothing new.
“Because let’s face it, if you were to go downtown and park for an hour or two, you’d be paying a similar amount of funds,” he said. “…people will continue to use our parks system.”
If the committee approves the proposal, the board must make a final decision before implementation. That’s expected to happen in October.
-with files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera