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White Rock to End Free Winter Parking to Increase Revenue & Locals Aren’t Happy

white rock beach patios white rock winter parking

Photo: Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

Businesses located along White Rock beach as well as the White Rock Business Improvement Association (BIA) are disappointed with the city’s decision to end free waterfront parking on weekdays from November to January (a huge bonus during the free winter festival). Instead, visitors will now have to pay to park along the beach year round.

RELATED: The Real Reason The Famous White Rock Looks Smaller Than Your Childhood

Winter Parking

The City is defending its decision to help reduce an anticipated 9.17% property tax increase in 2023.

Charging visitors to park during the winter will only make a slight difference, but “every little bit helps,” Mayor Megan Knight said during a recent finance meeting.

White Rock BIA

The White Rock BIA has taken a public stance against the decision, and also shared a letter addressed to the mayor and council. They also took to social media to share the following message:

We were very disappointed to hear the City of White Rock’s decision to end free waterfront parking on weekdays from November to January.

While we appreciate that the City of White Rock has limited avenues to raise revenues, we believe that there are better ways to earn what is, compared to their budget and the parking revenue in the summer months, a small amount of revenue.

Pay parking is inherently a barrier to business. We believe that municipalities have an important role to play in economic development, and removing barriers to business is a crucial part of that role.

In their letter, they pointed out that based on past data, the city generated an average of  $183, 942 between November to January. By comparison, the city generated $497, 041, or $16,033 per day in the month of July.

Some of the comments on the post included current or potential business owners highlighting the issue with year-round paid parking.

“I had to turn down a nice space along the waterfront. Pay parking was a major concern. Speaking with some of the neighboring businesses, the consensus was that pay parking was an impediment to success on the beach.” said one user.

“This is disappointing and shortsighted. Everyone is hurting financially right now, cities and businesses but given the hardships Marine drive has faced over the last few years it finally was starting to feel like they were getting a chance to get back on their feet. New businesses were opening and here again council pulls the rug out from under them again. It must be so difficult for those small businesses to plan anything when every time there’s a new council something changes for them. To have to shift your business model every 4 years is unfair and impractical. There has to be another way to make up the shortfall” added another.

One of the commenters suggested a parking pass for local residents:

“They should offer the annual parking passes for South Surrey residents. It would bring in additional revenue and also encourage locals to visit white rock beach and the businesses there more often.”

At the regular council meeting on March 27, White Rock council approved the first readings of a bylaw amendment that proposes an increase in parking fees at the waterfront and the elimination of free winter parking and the shoulder season between winter and summer months.

The Finance and Audit Committee discussed and voted on the measure during that afternoon’s meeting. For the amendment to become law, a subsequent final reading will be required.

Do you think White Rock should end free winter parking? Let us know in the comments below.

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