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BC Hydro wants to stop crazy Buntzen Lake traffic problems with pre-visit parking registration

Online parking registration will soon be required to picnic, hike or swim at Buntzen Lake this summer with a new online registration program that will run from June 27 to Sept. 5.
Buntzen Lake
Buntzen Lake is BC Hydro's busiest recreation area.

Visitors to the Buntzen Lake recreational area will have to reserve their parking spots in advance this summer.

BC Hydro, that manages the Anmore park, said it hopes the pre-registration system will help ease some of the traffic problems around the popular picnicking and hiking area that attracts thousands of visitors from around Metro Vancouver — especially when the weather gets hot.

Starting June 27 and lasting until Sept. 5, the utility company will be implementing the free parking reservation system, which will allow visitors to book the day before they plan to arrive for a morning or afternoon spot.

Reservations are connected to vehicle license plates and are non-transferable and all-day passes will not be offered.

You can also get to Buntzen Lake via transit

Visitors entering the park by transit or on foot do not require a pass. And, with new spring bus routes approved by TransLink, visitors to Buntzen Lake will be able to easily get to the park by bus and SkyTrain.

“Buntzen Lake is a popular recreation area and we’re hopeful the new reservation system will ease impacts on the neighbouring communities while maintaining free access to the site,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro.

Anmore Mayor John McEwen also welcomes the new reservation system, calling it a "game changer" as it will help "alleviate the excessive traffic back-ups we’ve experienced in our community the last few years."

Among the problems faced by Anmore residents are blocked roads and property access, said McEwen..

Also approving the plan is Port Moody-Coquitlam MLA Rick Glumac. He said he hopes the new online reservation system being piloted by BC Hydro will "help reduce frustration around parking so that families and visitors can fully enjoy the incredible outdoor experience that Buntzen Lake offers."

According to BC Hydro, more than 700,000 visitors access the hiking trails and swimming areas at Buntzen Lake each year. In July, 2021, nearly 116,000 visitors used a vehicle to access Buntzen Lake, up nearly 40 per cent from about 83,000 in July, 2019.

In its press release, the utility stated it has been developing the system for several months and similar parking reservation systems used by other agencies have "significantly reduced vehicle traffic."

Parking systems aim to reduce traffic jams in parks

This is not the first time a parking system has been in place to reduce traffic problems in parks located in Anmore and Belcarra.

Last year pay parking was introduced at Belcarra Park — now called təmtəmíxʷtən — to better control traffic.Parking systems aim to reduce traffic jams in parks

(Seasonal pay parking at Belcarra — now underway — starts April 1 and extends until Sept. 30, according to Metro Vancouver, and costs $2 per hour, with no time limit and a $12 maximum Parking fees aren't charged between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.)