Tofino is set to expand pay parking into its downtown core next year.
This past summer saw the district re-introduce pay parking at local beaches for the first time since 2007 after signing a contract with Robbins Parking Service and agreeing to pay the company $280,000 to operate the program as well as 5.5 per cent of the net revenues.
“The good news with this introduction of downtown on-street parking is that we can largely accomplish that within the current contracted costs,” Tofino’s director of infrastructure and public works Fraser Work told the town’s council during an Oct. 14 budget meeting. “We don’t expect to incur significant additional costs with the introduction of the downtown streets.”
He recommended that pay parking be brought into the downtown core in phases, with the initial phase being “along Campbell Street as the spine with the ribs of that spine being First to Fourth between Main and Neil.”
Unlike beach pay parking, which is in effect year-round, he suggested the downtown program be seasonal and run from May 1 to Oct. 1.
“Whatever we do downtown has to be done very thoughtfully and in partnership with the First Nations with respect to the offshore permit parking as well as with parking overall…The requirement to engage with the neighbouring businesses and the different stakeholders along that spine and along the ribs is paramount,” Work said said.
“I want to give the public and council a little bit of assurance that there’s many details that have to be sorted out within the pay parking system and its expansion into downtown and we want to do so in a way that continues on a track record of support and endorsement across council and the community.”
He said he was encouraged by how well pay parking was received at the beaches over the summer and said the program was intended to improve road safety, organize space and generate revenue.
“Things got very busy very quickly in the summer of 2020 and it was very clear to me as a new guy here in town that people were very frustrated with the ad hoc nature of lots of the parking as well as some of the poor parking patterns and behaviours,” he said.
“There were many, many, calls for increased, dedicated enforcement to be out and about visually and with violation notebooks in hand to make sure those problems were corrected and steered towards a better system.”
READ MORE: Pay parking arrives at Tofino’s beaches
READ MORE: Tofino set to charge for parking at beaches