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Municipality carefully watching pay parking revenue



The first indicators of pay parking at the Whistler Conference Centre are in.

And while it's still early, preliminary numbers peg the revenue this April at $1,200 per week, whereas income from the entire month of December sits at $9,100, reported Bob MacPherson, general manager of community life for the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

To put those figures into perspective, MacPherson said revenue for April is on par with what accountants at the municipality had forecast before the rates were adjusted, whereas the December numbers were slightly down.

Mayor Ken Melamed stressed it is still early to determine whether the pay parking strategy in the Whistler Conference Centre is working.

"I don't think we are going to start to see an accurate reflection in the potential revenue until pay parking is implemented in the day lots," he said. "Right now most locals who might have been paying in the conference centre know where to go to get free parking."

Pay parking on three of the day skier lots near Blackcomb Way is slated to begin June 28, with an anticipated revenue of $2 million a year.

Melamed added that staff at municipal hall will continue to monitor pay parking throughout Whistler Village into the future, and possibly consider improving and refining their strategy.

"Part of staff's assessment about the viability of our parking strategy is another look at our signage: how do people find the parking in the conference centre and how do they know when there are available stalls," said the mayor.

"Right now it is not much of a problem, but I know staff have been studying some of the European models and those in U.S. cities where they have vehicle counters that show availability in certain areas to facilitate the visitors' ability to access parking."

Pay parking at the conference centre was introduced in November, although the lot was closed through January and February because of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The projected yearly revenue from pay parking at the conference centre is approximately $170,000 a year, which averages to just below $3,300 a week.

Currently, it costs $1 to park in the conference centre underground lot for the first hour, $2 for the second hour, $2 for the third hour and $4 for the fourth hour. Drivers can also park on the third level for $9 a day or on the fourth level for $58 a month. Evening rates are $5 between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.



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