Parking fees at Thetis Lake Park will be going up at some point, but not without further discussion. Capital Regional District directors asked CRD staff to come back with alternatives, after hearing a proposal that would increase the $2.25 per day rate to $7 for 2021. (Courtesy CRD)

Parking fees at Thetis Lake Park will be going up at some point, but not without further discussion. Capital Regional District directors asked CRD staff to come back with alternatives, after hearing a proposal that would increase the $2.25 per day rate to $7 for 2021. (Courtesy CRD)

Greater Victoria politicians ditch plan for $7 daily parking at Thetis Lake

Capital Regional District directors fear backlash from parks users

Capital Regional District directors put the brakes on a staff proposal to increase the parking rate at Thetis Lake and Sooke Potholes regional parks to $7 a day, part of a long-term CRD parks revenue generation plan.

While increases to overnight camping rates and special permits were also included in the roster of proposed fee increases, parking fees raised the most concerns Wednesday at the regional parks committee meeting. Multiple directors predicted public backlash and unintended consequences if the current $2.25 rate was bumped to $7 for 2021.

“I’ve seen what people will do to avoid paying $2.25 and the streets they’re prepared to clog up,” said

View Royal Mayor David Screech, whose community is home to Thetis Lake.

The practice of “paying it forward” – departing park users passing along valid parking slips to incoming visitors – ended in 2019 with the move to a licence plate-based system that generated more revenue.

A staff report implied that service fee changes through the years have only addressed immediate needs and have not kept up with the significant costs associated with park maintenance, bylaw enforcement, service delivery and asset replacement. As well, they are not in line with other regional parks bodies in B.C., directors heard.

ALSO READ: One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

The strategy called for an increase in revenues from $227,797 to $670,046 – close to 200 per cent. About $411,000 of that increase came from parking fees.

Saanich Coun. Rebecca Mersereau said she understood the need to realign fees, but suggested phasing in the parking increase over two years.

“We’re in this position because our parks are incredibly popular, but there is a cost in maintaining them,” she said.

Some committee members said the large increase seemed punitive for people visiting for a short time.

“Seven dollars, to me, is just too much just to take your kids out for a swim,” said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns.

Committee chair Ben Isitt, also a Victoria councillor, called the proposed increase “too far, too fast” and suggested a small tax requisition could cover part of the shortfall. Directors were told $400,000 represents approximately $2 per household per year.

Screech also questioned how revenue from parking at Thetis Lake Park – roughly $153,000 last year – is used and was told it provided for service delivery and park improvements.

RELATED STORY: View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

“I think we need to be very aware of the effects that a park like Thetis has on the host municipality,” he said, pointing out that View Royal provides weekend enforcement and service, with firefighters responding to regular calls through the busy summer months and RCMP patrols dealing with liquor violations.

Staff were instructed to investigate a list of alternatives and bring them back to the next committee meeting. Those included phasing in parking fee increases, pursuing separate short-term and full-day rates, charging for parking year-round and charging at lots where no paid parking currently exists, such as Mount Work and Island View Beach.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Capital Regional DistrictCRDparks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

While Buccaneer Days public events are cancelled again, such as the annual parade, a home and business decorating contest will allow the spirit of the event to live on. (Facebook)
Esquimalt Buccaneer Days COVID-19 cannon fodder again

Annual celebration cancelled a second time, decorating contest full steam ahead

Police are looking for this suspect after a man was stabbed on Pandora Avenue Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Police seek suspect in Victoria stabbing

The stabbing took place in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read