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Pay parking won't be coming to Port Moody anytime soon

Efforts by three previous councils to introduce pay parking in Port Moody went nowhere
Port Moody will put off implementing pay parking in parts of the city until staff can report back on its costs and potential revenues .STANISLAW GREGOR/UNSPLASH

You can put your quarters and loonies back in your pocket.

At least for a while.

On Tuesday (May 16), Port Moody council’s finance committee voted to defer a motion introduced by Coun. Kyla Knowles to implement pay parking in various locations in the city until staff has time to report back on past proposals for pay parking, projected costs and revenues as well as appropriate sites.

The report won’t be expected until June 1, 2024.

In a memo, Knowles said Port Moody has lagged behind neighbouring communities and Metro Vancouver in charging for parking.

She said that’s caused a dearth of open parking spots in popular locations like Rocky Point Park and Murray Street, where park visitors compete with patrons and employees of the nearby breweries and even commuters looking to avoid fees at the parking lot surrounding the Moody Centre SkyTrain and West Coast Express station. She also cited Old Orchard Park and Ungless Way, near Eagle Ridge Hospital, as potential sites that could benefit from pay parking.

Knowles said not charging for parking discourages turnover and doesn’t motivate visitors to use other, less-costly transportation modes like transit, cycling or walking.

She said pay parking “will improve residents’ experience in the city” and generate revenue to help Port Moody pay for infrastructure.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said while she agrees in principle with Knowles’ pitch, the city should only implement pay parking after council has had a chance to consider all of its costs, benefits and ramifications, as well as provide opportunities for input from residents.

“We’re going to get a huge public backlash,” she said, adding considerations of pay parking by three previous councils ultimately went nowhere.

Coun. Haven Lurbiecki said any plan to charge for parking in the city should be looked at through an equity lens as it could impact residents differently depending on their ability to pay.

“A decision like this can have positive and negative impacts on our residents,” she said. “How those impacts are distributed will not be the same for everyone.”

But Coun. Samantha Agtarap said time is of the essence as there’s lots of information available to the city from the experiences of surrounding communities that have brought in pay parking.

“We need to create turnover,” she said. “We need to get people out of their cars.”

Port Moody’s city manager Tim Savoie said before staff can get working on the file, they’ll have to put together a project proposal and budget for council’s approval, then identify a funding source to pay for it.