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Whistler Chamber surveying members on pay parking

One proposal would mean end to free parking in all five lots during day

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Businesses wanted a voice, and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce is hearing them out.

The Chamber announced to members last week that the Parking Management Committee, a committee of the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb that oversees parking operations in the Day Lots, decided to delay an announcement about a revised User-Pay Parking strategy so that it could gather more input from Chamber members.

The Chamber has launched a User-Pay Parking Survey to collect feedback from members and solicit solutions regarding pay parking. Data gathered through the survey will be taken into account as the parking strategy is finalized. Chamber members were asked to complete it by March 24 at 9 a.m.

Kevin Wallace, managing partner for Earls and a critic of the existing parking regime, welcomed the chance to provide feedback on a new strategy.

"I think what they're doing is a good thing," he said of the Chamber survey. "Asking for feedback from the Whistler business community is a good thing and the more open they are to a variety of solutions to fix the currently broken problem would be great."

The survey queries members on a host of issues, such as how their revenue has changed, percentage-wise, since pay parking was implemented in Day Lots 1, 2 and 3 in the summer of 2010. Lots 4 and 5 have remained free of charge.

The survey asks members what factors have impacted their business levels and whether pay parking is having an effect on their business volume. It also asks members to consider alternatives to pay parking, such as what sort of increase in business property taxes operators would be prepared to absorb in order to meet projected parking revenues.

The survey includes a number of alternatives to the current pay parking strategy proposed by the Parking Management Committee. One of them would see pay parking extended to Lots 4 and 5, in addition to Lots 1, 2 and 3. The rate would remain at $2 an hour.

Evening rates for Lots 1, 2 and 3 would commence at 6 p.m. and go until 3 a.m., with summer rates set at $6 and winter rates set at $5. Lots 4 and 5 would remain free in the evenings.

Village employees and volunteers, meanwhile, would get the option of purchasing a monthly parking pass for $30, allowing them to park in Lot 3 East and Lots 4 and 5. There would also be a monthly parking pass available for $65 for anyone who wishes to purchase it.

There are currently no monthly passes available and evening parking rates start at 5 p.m. with no differential rate in summer and winter rates.

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