Province to take parking meters out of parks

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced today that the province is removing parking meters from all of the provincial parks to allow more families to use them.

PARKSVILLE – Parking meters are coming out of B.C.’s provincial parks.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark  announced today that the province is removing parking meters from all of the provincial parks to allow more families to use them.

The pay parking issue was very controversial when first put into place by the BC Liberals in 2003 and 2004, receiving protests across Vancouver Island from people frustrated by the fees.

Clark and Environment Minister Terry Lake announced in a media release today BC Parks’ centennial celebrations, which included the free parking policy change.

“The parking meters are coming out and parking will be free, effective immediately, so that British Columbia’s parks are even more welcoming for families,” said Clark.

Liberal MLA for Nanaimo-Parksville Ron Cantelon said Tuesday morning he’s happy one of the issues he felt strongly about is finally resolved.

“We had dropped the fee a bit and that was a start,” he said, adding the elimination of the fees altogether was a priority for him.

He noted this was one of the many issues concerning MLAs and that Clark has tackled — including the minimum wage and gaming grants.

“We can afford to do it,” Cantelon continued. “There will be a loss of revenue, but there’s a gain in people’s health and well-being. It’s back to where it was. People can use the parks whenever they want.”

The Province also announced a $500,000 Community Legacy Program to support communities while they celebrate the BC Parks centennial. The funding will be used to improve parks across the province. Community groups can apply for up to $20,000 for projects such as trail enhancements, improvements that support recreational activities or conservation of a park’s ecology or cultural history.