Parking lots won’t be paved this year By Loreth Beswetherick There was $1 million set aside in the 1999 municipal budget to pave the day skier parking lots but that is not going to happen this year, and that means there will be no municipal pay parking on the gravel lots between Blackcomb Way and Fitzsimmons Creek come this winter. Parking is, however, being sold by the mountains up at Blackcomb's Base II lot. Whistler/Blackcomb is reserving 200 parking spaces at Base II exclusively for season passholders who are willing to fork over $500, plus GST, for the privilege. The parking is being offered for seasonal rental to the passholders from Nov. 25 this year to April 30, 2000. Whistler/Blackcomb's vice president of marketing and sales, David Perry, said the reserved lots make up 15 per cent of the total parking available at Base II. "It's a new thing. We are going to take a section of one of the lots — lot 6 — to create a reserved area for passholders who want to purchase a space," said Perry. "We will have that area fenced off and manned." Perry said there will be no other pay parking for the mountains this season. There will be 1,290 parking spots at Base II this winter — the same as last. "We have got sufficient parking in that area," said Perry. Including the Base II lots, the parking at the base of Blackcomb near the Chateau Whistler plus the village lots, there are a total of 4,276 spaces available. Perry said that means only 4.6 per cent of the total space would be exclusive to those season passholders prepared to cough up for the privilege. Those numbers, however, will likely change next season as much of the parking on the two lots below the Chateau are earmarked for Intrawest's two proposed hotel developments. Once the village lots are paved, they too will become pay parking. The pay-for-parking plan is one of the Transportation Advisory Group’s initiatives as part of the new transportation strategy, due to go public this fall. The intent, however, is to couple the disincentives to bring a car into the village with new incentives to encourage transit use. Perry said there are currently no perks being offered to passholders who opt for bus travel. The municipality's manager of transportation and drainage, Steve Black, said the 1999 RMOW funding earmarked for paving the day skier lots in the village area will be held over for next year. "We haven't even got around to finalizing the scope of the work yet," said Black.