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Pay parking returns to conference centre next month



Get your spare change ready.

In a month and a half pay parking is coming back to the underground lot at the Whistler Conference Centre.

At the same time, on Tuesday, Nov. 17, new parking rates, based on input from the community, will be introduced in all municipally-owned parking areas.

"I'm disappointed," said local business owner Nathan McLeod, who spearheaded two separate online petitions that gathered 1,700 names in opposition of the pay parking plan.

Despite the groundswell of opposition, council moved ahead with a revised parking plan in mid-September.

After community feedback council changed the rates originally set for the conference centre and Main Street. The plan also adds user-pay parking to the parking lot at municipal hall.

"Moving toward a user-pay system has been discussed extensively as part of the community's long-term transportation, GHG reduction and air quality plans dating back many years," said Mayor Ken Melamed.

McLeod, however, doesn't believe this will be the end of the pay parking debate.

Community members are busy getting ready for the winter and the 2010 Games and so the unrest has died down. He said the issue would hit the spotlight again when the day skier Lots 1-3, now free, switch to pay parking in the summer after the 2010 Games. Lots 4 and 5 will remain free at this time.

"The parking issue seemed to fixate the discontent in town with the way council is spending money," he said.

"I don't think that disappointment has gone anywhere."

• 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.