With the sun shining, and things heating up, you’ll hear it over and over again: Thetis Lake.

The sandy beach is the perfect place to relax, soak but the sun, and play. The last thing you’d think about is a parking ticket.

But more people may be finding a ticket on their dash heading into May long weekend. And that’s because the way you pay for parking at Thetis Lake, has changed.

“You have to put your license plate in so you can’t pass it on to the next person,” said hiker Crystal Murphy.

The time-honored tradition of passing your picket onto the next person pulling in, is over.

Now, it’s pay by plate, and many longtime visitors aren’t too happy.

“A little disappointed because it’s nice to pass it on to another person,” said Anna Wilbee who was out for a walk with her friend.

“I think it’ll take away having that neighborly kind of feel of helping each other,” said beachgoer Ariel Campbell.

“We might not be coming here as often now,” said local Danae Webb.

And while Robbins Parking hands out the first few tickets of the season, it’s up to the Capital Regional District to see where the profits will go.

“The revenue from the parking does go back into the park system such as maintenance and enforcement, so it is definitely for a good cause,” said CRD Parks senior manager Jeff Leahy.

Pay by plate has already become the norm for parking at South Island hospitals and at the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. Now, as of May 1st, both Thetis Lake and Sooke Potholes will join the list.

“It’s just more of an irritation, it’s not going to prevent me from coming back,” said Wilbee.

The prices, however, will remain the same. A day pass for Thetis Lake goes for $2.25, and a seasons pass for $20.

Kori Sidaway