I've lived in Tri-Cities for the past six years. I recently planned to visit Jug Island Trail with my little one-year-old baby and my wife.
It has been a family tradition for me. This time, however, I noticed all the roadside parking spaces that previously were available to the public who plan to use the trail had been transformed to permit holder parking spaces, which are open only to Belcarra residents.
We could not find any designated spot for the public.
I was shocked by the new parking bylaw. It looks pretty biased and in favour of residents of Belcarra while ignoring the rights of residents in Metro Vancouver.
I understand there has been congestion of cars in high season, but this does not justify reallocating all of the street parking spaces to Belcarra residents, which, according to statistics, has not changed in population for a decade, and means street parking is not needed for residents.
I don't understand what justifications the authorities have made to ban the public from staying in that area.
The region of Belcarra is benefitting from all the amenities made mainly to high-density areas such as Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, including shopping centres, health care and essential services such as water treatment plants, public transit as well as commercial spaces. All of these are possible because of high-density areas.
In return, the Village of Belcarra is banning people from using the streets that go into their neighbourhood because for a few weekends over summer congestion in their area?
And on top of that, I noticed the village has dedicated enforcement officers running back and force on a few blocs on weekends to ticket cars within a few minutes of parking.
With a $100 ticket, the village is using the parking bylaw as a money-making service. Basically, the authorities found a way to charge the people of mainly Tri-Cities for their visit. They simply make their entire municipality a no-parking zone for the public.
In another viewpoint, Belcarra regional park is funded by Metro Vancouver parks and in the past few decades, so much work went into making this park accessible for Metro Vancouver residents.
Now, with the growth of the population, which resulted in more popularity of the regional parks, and the neighbourhood close to these parks, the Village of Belcarra taking advantage of developed parks but their low-density neighbourhood and monopoly over the streets trying to keep the public out of their neighbourhood.
I've since contacted the Village of Belcarra with the three requests below and raised my concern, but no answer was received so far.
- There should be dedicated public parking for jug island and the regional park with access to it. It could be paid parking with a time limit. But I strongly oppose eliminating all parking options or disproportionally dedicating the available spots to residents with permits.
- If the public parking is not available for any reason outside the control of authorities, then all those street parking should be converted to "no parking zone", instead of "parking with permit zone" which is only open to residents of Belcarra. If the population of the city does not grow why the public parking need should be changed. When I was there I could see very few cars parked in a few blocs of permit holder parking and some were ticketed.
- All the evidence that resulted in changing the parking bylaw should be available publicly.
In addition, I want other municipalities, like Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, to deliver their concern and look for solutions.
By limiting the access of families to this park in favour of local residents, there would be a question of how to spend public money on infrastructure that benefits everyone equally.
- Moh Rafati, Ph.D., Tri-Cities