Parking fees coming to 2 Metro Vancouver parks this spring
$2 per hour fee at Lynn Headwaters and Belcarra parks needed to help deal with congestion, district says
Metro Vancouver is implementing parking fees at two popular regional parks this spring and summer to try to ease congestion as the number of visitors soar during the pandemic.
From March 29 until Oct. 31, parking at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver will cost $2 per hour for the hours the park is open.
The same fees will be put in place for Belcarra Regional Park, which includes the Belcarra Picnic Area and White Pine Beach, in early April. There are no limits on how long visitors can park for, as long as they pay.
Metro Vancouver says the two parks are some of the busiest in the region and are accessed mostly by vehicles.
"Parking is a finite resource, and today we're seeing that those park sites fill up early in the morning," said Mike Redpath with Metro Vancouver. "There's unsafe traffic outside of the park that is occurring. We hope that [parking fees] will resolve some of those issues."
Regional parks in Metro Vancouver continue to set new visitor records. In January they had more than 1.2 million visits, more than double the visits made in January 2020.
Last year was a record-setting year for visits to Metro Vancouver green spaces as people turned to local parks to get outside during the pandemic. Visits to Metro Vancouver's 23 regional parks, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas and two regional park reserves grew nearly 40 per cent to 16.5 million visits from the year before.
"Really, what's happened during COVID is it's really amplified capacity management issues and visitor management, specifically parking," said Redpath.
Metro Vancouver hopes the parking fees will help reduce the length of stay at the parks, increase turnover and motivate some visitors to carpool, cycle or take public transit to the sites.
Reaction to the parking fees has been mixed, with some visitors at Lynn Headwaters Provincial Park on Sunday saying the $2 per hour fee won't deter them from coming or staying. Some said they were against the parking fees while others hope the fees will improve conditions at the park.
WATCH | Metro Vancouver park users discuss upcoming parking fees:
Metro Vancouver officials say the revenues will support operations at the two parks and data gathered from the people paying for parking will help better understand how and when the lots are being used.
With files from Jon Hernandez