White Rock city staff will be taking a look at opening some of the waterfront parking lot area to residents with parking decals during the current pandemic situation.
Council endorsed a motion from Coun. David Chesney asking for a report on the feasibility of making the space available to residents in areas immediately adjacent to beach access points, Monday to Friday.
The designated lots would be by Cypress Street on East Beach and Bay Street, beside Bayview Park, on West Beach.
The city’s waterfront lots and parkade were temporarily closed as of March 23, as part of an effort to encourage social distancing and help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The motion included an amendment from Coun. Scott Kristjanson that parking limitations be strictly enforced, to discourage non-residents from parking in the lots.
The motion prompted extensive discussion among councillors, who said they had received appeals from many residents to allow more parking closer to the beach.
Discussion included what relaxed parking restrictions for residents would look like, and also whether the 15-minute zone on the north of Marine Drive should be used by residents, and whether the time limit could be extended there to up to 30 minutes.
Also discussed was the need to provide encouragement for those who seek fresh air and exercise on the beach and how that balances with recommendations to stay home and practise social distancing.
Coun. Helen Fathers noted chief administration officer Dan Bottrill’s opinion that residents with parking decals can park in the 15-minute zone for up to four hours, as permitted by purchase of the decal.
Bottrill also acknowledged that ticketing in the 15-minute zone has so far been limited to only the most flagrant abuses.
Coun. Christopher Trevelyan also pushed for including more than two lots in the study.
“I do think the motion is somewhat limiting,” Fathers said. “But if that report comes back and there are things missing in it, that discussion can be held then.”
But Chesney said he was concerned only with looking at providing two lots for residents, and that issues of parking abuses should be addressed separately.
“We are simply talking about our residents,” Chesney said. “We need to maintain that stance that we are closed.”