No parking meters on Spanish Banks!
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Vancouver Park Board has decided to charge $3.50 an hour for parking all along Spanish Banks where it used to be free. We are told that parking is charged at other beaches like Kits and Jericho, but there’s a reason. Those beaches both have limited parking and far easier public transport and bike access. Spanish Banks is long and has a great deal of parking. People come to Spanish Banks by car because it is by far the easiest way to get there, especially for large families, the elderly, disabled or people with bbq’s or other beach gear.
But we are told that the Park Board needs to raise money to pay for upkeep and they rely on these fees. Then the question is, how on earth has the Park Board managed for all these years while Spanish Banks has been free? Is there some other reason their budget requires this new source of income? Could it be poor fiscal management or simply a matter of priorities?
You might ask, why shouldn’t everyone pay for parking there anyway? Why should parking be free in Vancouver? The answer is less about all the politics around car use, but more to do with what Vancouver is about.
In London, all museums are free. No admission charge. They have the finest museums in the world and if any museums could justify a fee, they could. So why are they free? Because museums and culture are what London is about and so easy and free access mean people enjoy this important asset. Vancouver doesn’t have museums on this scale or renown, but we have something else. We have the outdoors. Beaches, parks and mountains, and people should be encouraged to use them. Charging people to park where it was free before means people are going to be a little less inclined to go, or when they do go, they will be watching the clock. Especially lower income people who have to think twice about the cost which used to be free.
Where we do have to pay for parking in Vancouver, we have seen considerable increases over the last ten years. Many street parking meter rates have more than doubled and now extend to 10pm instead of 8. We don’t need another parking fee increase like this.
We, the undersigned, urge the Park Board to reconsider this means of revenue which has never been there before. We feel that the parks budget should be maintained on the same basis it has been for all the years Spanish Banks has not had parking fees. This is a special place for people to come and go and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of our city without having to put our hand in our pocket. It’s a rare treat. Let’s keep this area free for all.
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