Tourists and residents alike shouldn’t be dinged for parking

Letter writer says pay parking in Harrison an 'easy solution for a few dollars'

As a member of the Harrison business community I am dismayed and disappointed to learn that pay parking is once again being considered. This issue has been presented by the council in the past and voted against. The business community came together many times in the past and expressed their opinion against pay parking knowing it would be a serious deterrent to our businesses and this is still true. Who better than the business community to know what the impact would be if we expect our customers to pay to park to support our businesses.

These are very difficult economic times. There is still a recession. We have not fully recovered from the downfall after 2008. Business is very sensitive and people are very careful with their dollars.

We do not have that great of an economy in our beautiful village to start charging people to park here. Each day we cross our fingers and do what we can – hoping that someone will make a purchase in our shop and that they will enjoy a lunch or dinner or ice cream, that they will want to do a water sport or go on a boat trip and that they will have a good experience and will want to come back and tell their friends that “Harrison is a great place to visit”.

We ask our customers where they are from, and for the most part they are from the lower mainland and further north and east. They don’t want to have to pay to stop and enjoy the view, to go for a coffee, check out the shops, and neither would I if I was to go go their towns.

We know that pay parking was a big problem in our Provincial Parks and we also know it was a problem in Tofino. There was a big drop in visitors to the parks. There is no longer pay parking at either of these places, it just isn’t a good idea.

I know parking spaces are few on Esplanade but I think it might be a good idea to educate the local businesses whose employees park on the main street in order to go to work. Their cars are there for the entire day. These are parking spots that their customers need to do business with them.

The places where there is parking need to be better identified.

Of course there is the issue of money. Which in the end is what this is all about. The village would like more revenue..we would all like more revenue.  In our business we look to see how, during the difficult economic times we can stay afloat.  We buy carefully, not spend on things we do not need, keep our staffing costs trimmed, etc. These are all things the village can take a closer look at too. And like us, when the money is available through saving and budgeting, consider making purchases, doing upgrades, etc.

There are 23 eating places in this village, 10 gift stores/dress shops, four ice cream shops, eight hotel/motels, two bar/pubs, liquor sales, bed and breakfasts, hairdressers, chocolate shop, boat rental and water sport activities, etc. this is for all of us —Villagers and Visitors. All these businesses rely on a positive experience for their customers (including Harrison and District of Kent/Agassiz residents). These customers do not expect or want to pay to park when they come here to shop, visit, eat, etc., and we all need each and every customer/visitor who decides to make the trip to our village.

Do not bring in pay parking. This seems like an easy solution for a few dollars but it will cause a great deal of hardship and disappointment to visitors, local residents and businesses alike. One of the large sources of tax revenue that the village relies on is from the business community. We need support to keep these businesses alive so that they can continue to pay their taxes, be successful, hire employees, create better businesses and more reasons for all to come to our village. Anything to deter visitors and locals visiting, staying and spending in the village is not supportive and will not make our village successful.

We do not want pay parking.

Donna Wright, Peter Heal and Audrey Munce

Island View Gifts,

Harrison Hot Springs