It will be more expensive to park your car in Harrison Hot Springs this summer, after council voted to increase parking fees by a dollar an hour.
At a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 30, council voted in favour of proposed changes to the pay parking fees, which would see prices increase to $3 an hour and $12 for full-day parking. This proposal was first brought up during the Jan. 21 council meeting.
At that earlier council meeting, community services coordinator Rhonda Schell explained the proposed increases would help cover the cost of beach maintenance.
In 2018, fees from pay parking were down seven per cent from the year before, meaning the village brought in $151,567. Schell said the loss of revenue could be from fewer people visiting due to the wildfires, but also because more people were aware of the pay parking program and as a result fewer fines were given out.
“Despite the reduction in revenue, the cost to the village continues from April to September of each year for beach maintenance,” Schell said.
Council were reluctant to agree to increasing the parking rates, with most councillors speaking in opposition to the plan. Coun. Ray Hooper was in particular opposition.
The current contract with Precise ParkLink, Harrison’s pay parking provider, doesn’t allow for residents to be given free parking, something Hooper felt was a necessity. (The contract will be up for renewal in 2020.)
“People are having problems parking now, residents are experiencing people parking outside their driveways,” Hooper said during the Jan. 21 meeting. “There are a number of other options we should be looking at before we actually vote on this one.”
Other options discussed during council included having the pay parking period be extended from May 1 to Sept. 30, although council did not decide to go forward with this recommendation.
Currently, the pay parking period runs from June 15 to Sept. 15 and covers Esplanade Avenue, St. Alice Street, Hot Springs Road north of Lillooet Avenue, Maple Street, Chehalis Street and Spruce Street.
Council passed the proposed increases at the Jan. 30 committee of the whole meeting, with Hooper opposed. Hooper reiterated his opposition during the Feb. 4 council meeting, when the parking bylaws were officially amended.
“I don’t think it goes far enough, but this is what we’re voting on,” he said. “I’d like to see a little bit more done for the residents, but as we can’t extend the timescale for the parking, we’ll have to vote for it.”