Steveston groups mull more pay parking

Coun. Bill McNulty suggests a combination of strategies could be employed. - Matthew Hoekstra photo
Coun. Bill McNulty suggests a combination of strategies could be employed.
— image credit: Matthew Hoekstra photo

Pay parking in Steveston isn’t the end of the world, it’s just an economic sign of the times.

News that two operators of public parking lots are eyeing pay parking expansion may force others to consider the same, Coun. Bill McNulty said.

“If you do it, I have to do it, to make it an even playing field,” he said.

Steveston is one of the most desired destinations in all of the Lower Mainland, and there needs to be a strategy to provide affordable parking that isn’t a deterrent to visitors.

Pay parking was recently introduced at Steveston Harbour Authority-run properties in the fishing village, and could be expanded to other lots it operates.

Bob Baziuk, general manager of the harbour authority, said pay parking was introduced at a few lots on Aug. 1, but other lots will be considered for something similar.

Baziuk said its parking lots have been free for decades, but the environmental costs associated with garbage removal and electricity, combined with economic pressures, have forced the authority to consider pay parking as a revenue source.

Operating the harbour is costly, Baziuk said.

Marie Fenwick, executive director of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society, said the national historic site’s parking lot is also being considered for pay parking.

“It is something we’re looking at,” she said, adding that a decision will be made in the next year.

As a non-profit society that manages the site, Fenwick said it wants to ensure parking is available for visitors, and not just anyone shopping in Steveston.

If pay parking is brought in, a decision about hourly rates will “keep the broader picture of the community in mind,” she said.

Steveston Community Society’s Jim Kojima said the society is closely watching the spread of pay parking.

The concern is that with the move toward pay parking, the community centre’s free lot might become congested with non-users.

And that means its users may potentially be on the short end of the stick.

McNulty said if free parking spaces evaporate, that could impact area businesses. He suggests that a combination of parking strategies be employed in Steveston to address concerns of area residents, visitors and business owners.



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