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Councillors approve revised parking plan

Tentative rates set for conference centre, Main Street, and public library lots



The municipality will reinstate pay parking in the conference centre underground lot - although staff haven't set a date for when the change will go into affect.

New parking rates will also be set for Main Street, the Whistler Public Library, the municipal hall parking lot, the conference centre's surface lot, and the visitor's loop parking lot.

Those were some of the results from Tuesday evening's public council meeting, where Whistler's mayor and six councillors unanimously gave the municipality's new, comprehensive Parking Plan for Whistler Village their approval.

The report comes two months after more than 100 impassioned community members packed into MY Millennium Place theatre to let the council members know they were unhappy with the proposal to start charging people to park in the historically free underground parking lot at the conference centre.

The audience was slim this week, though, as Bob McPherson, the municipality's general manager of community life, went over the new plan.

"We think success is trying to find some equilibrium and trying to account for the needs of other players," said McPherson, adding that the plan doesn't cover the day skier parking lots.

"I am pretty sure we are not going to have it perfect this time around, but I think we are a lot closer to being perfect than we were a while ago. We think we are going to want to be looking at these parking rates from time to time as we move forward."

Councillors did not have any major concerns with the plan, although both Councillor Ralph Forsyth and Councillor Ted Milner felt the general principles guiding the parking plan are conflicting.

Namely, both councillors said the municipality's objective to get more revenue by charging for parking conflicts with the parallel policy of encouraging people not to drive to the village.

"I think part of our problem is our failure to articulate what success for parking is," explained Forsyth.

Councillor Eckhard Zeidler also acknowledged the plan is not complete yet, but said the proposal is a lot more thorough than what was presented at council two months ago.

"This could take a couple of years until we get it absolutely right, but it is a good start," said Zeidler.

The new Parking Plan is available in the Sept. 15 council package, found at under the council meeting section.

Briefly, the plan includes:

• Rates for the visitor's loop parking lot outside North Shore Credit Union would be $2 for the first hour and $3 for the second hour.

• Rates for Main Street, the municipal hall parking lot, the conference centre surface lot, the first two levels of the conference centre's underground lot, and Whistler Public Library would be $1 for the first hour, $2 for the second hour, $2 for the third hour, and $4 for the fourth hour.

• The third level of the conference centre underground lot would have a flat daily rate of $9, and the fourth level would have a monthly parking rate of $58.

• The conference centre underground lot would also have a $5 evening rate between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.

• Whistler residents could get discounts buy buying the municipality's in-car meters and paying rates of $1 for the first hour, $1 for the second hour, $2 for the third hour.

Municipal staff are also looking at creating tokens that businesses could buy to give to their regular customers. The municipality will also start withholding business licences for people who owe more than $300 in parking tickets.

Also, the municipality may set up an arms-length parking authority, similar to the Whistler Housing Authority, to oversee parking in Whistler Village.



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