Tri-City hikers will no longer have to worry about parking at Buntzen Lake after BC Hydro agreed to allow day passes.
"We’ve heard the concerns from hikers about the morning and afternoon passes not allowing enough time to hike the trails through the Buntzen recreation site," spokesperson Kyle Donaldson confirmed to the Tri-City News in an email.
"In response to those concerns, we’ll be adding the option to book an all-day pass through the new reservation system when it launches June 27. We ask users to respect the reservation system time of their pass," Donaldson noted.
The change of heart comes after the utility announced that visitors to the park would be required to register for a parking pass the day before their arrive.
Not everyone was pleased by the reservation plan.
Hikers were upset at the plan, saying it would prevent them from hiking Eagle Mountain during the summer.
They raised concerns about half-day passes for morning or afternoon being too short for a typical Buntzen Lake hike.
The rational for the parking reservation system was to reduce traffic problems in Anmore, where the popular recreation area is located.
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 or a day pass.
Reservations are connected to vehicle license plates and are non-transferable.
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.
Some are still upset at the plan, believing it reduces spontaneity for those who want to visit the park.
"It is hard to avoid thinking that perhaps BC Hydro is conveniently jumping on what during the past two COVID-19 years has become the bandwagon to (over)regulate B.C. parks," wrote Walter Cicha in a letter to the Tri-City News.
"Why is spontaneity suddenly being killed across the accessible B.C. outdoors?" he further wrote.
"We should be able to wake up in the morning and decide if we want to drive to Buntzen Lake, or any other B.C. park that has been victimized by advance parking registration policies."
Donaldson said BC Hydro would be reviewing the plan from feedback as it rolls out the new parking control measure.
"The reservation system is a pilot project and we’ll be monitoring feedback and use of the new system throughout the summer."