BC Hydro is now considering day passes for parking at Buntzen Lake after hikers expressed concerns about half-day parking.
The utility company, which manages the popular hiking and picnicking area located in Anmore, announced that starting June 27, new parking regulations will be in place requiring visitors to register for a parking space they day before they arrive.
Drivers will have to show proof of registration before they will be allowed entry into the park.
The parking passes, which would only be for a half day, would be too short for hikers attempting to do some of the longer hikes at Eagle Mountain that start at the lake, according to hikers.
Hydro spokesperson Kyle Donaldson said the online parking registration system at Buntzen Lake is a pilot program and officials will be monitoring the reservation system this summer to gather feedback.
"We hear the concerns from hikers about changes to vehicle access at the Buntzen Lake parking lot. We’re exploring the addition of an all-day pass as a booking option. We’ll have more to share as we approach the launch date of the reservation system," Donaldson said in an email to the Tri-City News.
Among the concerns about the new Buntzen Lake parking rules would be traffic problems in Port Moody and Coquitlam, with hikers seeking alternative places to park to access popular hiking trails.
"By Hydro’s own admission, many of the popular trails accessible from Buntzen take the better part of a day to complete — and that’s if you’re fast, ultra-fit and experienced," wrote Scott Simpson, in his letter about Buntzen parking problems.
While the passes are only for a half day, and are tied to a vehicle license plate, it's not clear what would happen if someone stayed past their allotted time.
Donaldson has told Global News that visitors should "respect the time frame that they’re at Buntzen.”
The parking pass system has been implemented to reduce traffic problems in Anmore, where residents have complained about cars blocking roads and drive ways.
As for missing out, Donaldson says the registration system won't overbook spots and those who register should be able to find parking when they arrive.
"Our goal is to make sure all guests with a parking reservation will have a spot when they enter Buntzen Lake. The system won’t allow for overbooking and vehicles without a reservation will be turned away," he said.
Hydro plans a campaign over the coming weeks to inform the public about the parking reservation plan, including updated signage at the park.
Here's how the new Buntzen Lake parking registration system will work
- As of June 27, drivers will need to make an online reservation the day before their visit to Buntzen
- Visitors will be asked by staff to produce a proof of their reservation. And they need to carry a digital or printed copy of the reservation when they enter the site
- Anyone trying to access the parking lot without a reservation will be turned away
- Reservations are not required for people using public transit or those who enter the area on foot
- The reservation system is a pilot project and will be in place until the end of the September long weekend