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Feature - Park Place

In the paved parts of paradise, you have to put up for a parking spot

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"We get a lot of hikers and lots of people have been picking up their annual passes," Mathew Broadbent, marketing manager for Cypress Bowl Recreations Ltd., says. "Obviously people aren’t thrilled to have to pay for something that was free but people seem to be accepting the change."

Broadbent is not 100 per cent sure how pay parking will go over in Cypress Park this winter.

"Logistically how it would work, whether there’s a surcharge on a ticket – probably what we’re looking at is some kind of pay parking similar to what we have here in the summer time but maybe sort of working around it differently."

One possibility is that certain parking lots that are closer to the ski lifts will have pay parking while other lots don’t.

"We’re not actually sure how that’s going to pan out yet," Broadbent reiterates.

Administrating pay parking will be an additional task for CBRL but Broadbent doesn’t think pay parking could cause a real tie-up in traffic with people having to stop and buy a ticket on a weekend or trying to get into one of the free lots.

"I don’t think we see a huge inconvenience to customers to have to do that," he says.

"Hopefully customers feel they’re getting value for what they’re paying for and providing some additional funding to sort of return some of the resources that were being depleted," he says.

CBRL goes back to its winter operating permit in November.

"I expect that in October some time, we would have resolution on what the direction is with parking for the winter time," Broadbent says.

Pepper is optimistic about the evolution of our provincial parks and the role a policy such as parking fees can have in that evolution.

"If we get to a point where the costs of operating the parks – at least the developed facilities because we’re not considering the backcountry areas and the parks that are set aside for conservation reasons because they are ecologically unique – once they start to break even and are starting to produce revenues, those additional revenues, I would suspect, are what’s intended to go into this trust account."

Reviews of pay parking in the Sea to Sky corridor appear to be mixed. People generally agree that parks need protection and that paying a fee is okay if this revenue is going towards a good purpose. But things would go a lot better for the provincial government if their personnel were a little clearer about where the revenues were going to be spent.

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