It is with interest that I read in the last issue of the Pique the very one-sided comments with respect to pay parking.
There is another side to the equation and others in the community that feel differently.
I am one, and have the following comments on some of the views expressed in the article. Firstly, all parking costs money - from the capital expenses to the construction, maintenance and insurance of the area. This is true of ALL parking, public, private and commercial. Given that, why should Whistler taxpayers help to fund parking for those who choose (yes, CHOOSE) to live out of the community and commute?
After all, they live and pay taxes elsewhere. As for comments from businesses that business is down because of pay parking, I ask, where is the independent study verifying this? After all it looks like Whistler Blackcomb has had another great year for skier visits.
Could it be that regional tourists are not coming here to shop but to play? I would also add that one only has to go to the Squamish stores on the weekend and see how many Whistler locals are shopping there, not to mention a well-publicized recession.
I believe there is much more at play here than pay parking. There are a number of reasons why paving the lots was a good thing.
We call ourselves a "world class resort" and, let's face it, tourism is our bread and butter. Before the lots were paved, we expected the people that come here to spend their money to drive though a pot-hole ridded and sometimes dangerous parking lot in the winter months and suffer through a thoroughly disgusting amount of dust clouds in the summer.
World class? I doubt it.
An even more important reason to pave is that now all the surface run off is chanelled into a bio-filter that cleans out the crap from our vehicles such as oil, gas and all the various ice melters used on the roads before they enter the Fitz Creek and Green River water systems.
If we really care about the environment, this is a MUST do, and we all know that sometimes being friendly to the environment can be costly.
To sum up, I feel that the people who use public parking lots should also be the ones that pay, not unlike, say, Meadow Park Sports Center - if you want to use the facility there is a user fee.
Why is this acceptable and not pay parking?
There is nothing in the Community Charter or the Local Government Act that requires a municipality to provide parking. In short, if you don't want to pay for parking, either change your lifestyle to reflect this or find alternate ways to get to work and play.