Parking charges gone from B.C. parks

Golden Ears Park in the Lower Mainland is one of the provincial parks where parking fees have been removed.

Parking fees have been lifted from 41 provincial parks around B.C., and the provincial government will make up the $650,000 annual revenue in the environment ministry budget.

Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Terry Lake made the announcement Tuesday at Mt. Seymour Provincial Park in North Vancouver, to mark the 100th anniversary of the B.C. parks system.

The parking fees have been unpopular since they were introduced in the first term of the B.C. Liberal government. The environment ministry says they brought in about $1 million a year, of which $350,000 went to general revenue with the rest going to fund park upkeep.

Lake also announced a $500,000 community legacy fund that will accept applications from communities to make improvements to their local park. Up to $20,000 will be provided to selected projects for trail upgrades and other park improvements.

NDP environment critic Rob Fleming said the removal of parking fees is long overdue, since total visits to B.C. parks have declined nearly 15 per cent over the past decade.

Fleming called the legacy fund “a drop in the bucket” compared to a $10 million reduction in the budget for operating and maintaining parks. There are only 10 full-time park rangers left in the province, and volunteer organizations are getting burned out from doing trail work that is no longer funded by the province, he said.

Only the higher-traffic southern locations in B.C.’s system of 1,000 parks had the ticket machines, which charged up to $5 to park a vehicle for the day.

In the Lower Mainland, parking fees were in force at Alice Lake, Brandywine Falls, Coquihalla Canyon, Cultus Lake, Cypress Bowl, Garibaldi, Golden Ears, Murrin, Porpoise Bay, Porteau Cove, Rolley Lake, Sasquatch and Shannon Falls Provincial Parks.

Okanagan parks where fees applied until Tuesday are Bear Creek, Manning, Ellison, Kalamalka, Kekuli Bay, Mabel Lake, Mara Lake, Okanagan Lake and Sunoka.

In the Thompson region, fees were charged at Herald, Lac Le Jeune, Paul Lake and Shuswap Lake.

On Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, parking machines were in place at Bamberton, Englishman River Falls, French Beach, Goldstream, Gordon Bay, Juan de Fuca, Little Qualicum Falls, Miracle Beach, Montague Harbour, Rathtrevor, Ruckle, Sooke Potholes and Sproat Lake.

Just Posted

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Garden suite applications on the rise, but not without a few hitches: staff report

Victoria city council to hear update on revised garden suite application process

Armoury event highlights Canada’s D-Day efforts in Normandy

Event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury

Canada Day comes early with Oak Bay celebration

Fun continues with first free concert in the park Friday evening

Bed Races on Beacon teams make final preparations

CCM Construction ready to defend their title on July 7

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Most Read