Big news from the Park Board today. The proposal to start charging for parking at Spanish Banks came suddenly, was strongly opposed, and now it looks like it is of the table for now. When first announced, it was a done deal. But it took a lot of quick work by citizens, and some great community leaders, like David Fine (@DavidFineGuy). His petition kick-started a mini-movement. Many people wrote and spoke to the Park Board. Mainstream media played a role in raising public attention to the issue.
Public follow-up is required. Under Mayor Robertson and Vision Vancouver, City Council was attempting to usurp power from the Park Board and has been choking off its funding, resulting in decisions to commercialize the public parks with restaurants and other income-earners. This cash grab from Spanish Banks parking was in that context. A good topic for your list of questions for candidates in the October 2018 civic elections.
Text of the media statement follows. If you appreciate this decision, feel free to contact your Park Board commissioners and say so!
Park Board will not implement seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks beaches in 2018 (Media release, 28-March-2018)
After a thorough staff review the Park Board has decided it will not introduce seasonal pay parking at Spanish Banks this summer.
Staff have advised that for this year, the revenue from Spanish Banks parking is not required to balance the budget, so plans for the introduction of pay parking in four Spanish Banks lots are currently on hold.
In addition, Park Board Commissioners raised concerns at the time of approval about the lack of transit alternatives to this more remote beach location. Additional work is required with our transportation partners to find suitable options.
The Park Board will review operational and financial considerations next year and will carefully consider submissions from residents concerned about access and affordability to beaches with limited transit options for families and persons with low incomes.
While parking revenues help to reduce taxation revenue required by Park Board, access for all residents and visitors is also a key priority.
The plans – approved during the budgeting process last fall – were to implement peak season pay parking at Spanish Banks this spring in order to align with all other destination parks and beaches in Vancouver.
More than 40% of the Park Board’s operating budget is funded by fees and charges. Pay parking at destination parks and beaches remains a critical source of Park Board revenue, providing funding for the maintenance, security, and cleanliness of all of our parks and facilities.