Hikers, walkers and swimmers looking to check out Buntzen Lake this summer can start saving parking spots tomorrow (May 15).
BC Hydro, who manages the popular Anmore site, is re-launching its free online reservation system at 7 a.m. on Monday for morning, afternoon or all-day bookings between May 16 and Sept. 4.
This follows a project from summer 2022 that decreased local traffic congestion by 10 per cent among more than 82,000 reservations, according to the utility.
What's different this year?
In total, BC Hydro said 66 per cent of participants used their bookings during the pilot.
However, the remaining 33 per cent were no-shows, causing frustration for Tri-Cities residents and visitors that wanted to come to the site north of Port Moody.
The company has updated its registration process in encouraging visitors to set up a user account on their smart phone to book or modify reservations.
BC Hydro is also considering penalties for drivers who "repeatedly do not show up for their reservation," including having their accounts temporarily suspended.
No-shows would be tracked by the online system as each account requires a vehicle licence plate and a mobile phone number.
Confirmed parking reservations will also include a QR code on each pass that will be scanned at Buntzen Lake's gate, and who that can't make their time slot are strongly encouraged to cancel as soon as possible.
Those wishing to visit the outdoor site by transit, bike or foot don't need a pass.
"We are confident these updates to the free reservation system will allow even more people to access the parking lot at Buntzen Lake this summer, while ensuring emergency vehicles and first responders are able to enter the site at all times," said BC Hydro CEO Chris O'Rielly in an earlier statement.
Buntzen Lake is considered to be BC Hydro's busiest recreation area in the Lower Mainland with roughly 200,000 visitors to its surroundings every summer.
The online parking reservation system can be found on the provincial utility's website.
If you don't feel like driving all the way to Buntzen Lake this year, there is a bus that can take you there from downtown Coquitlam.
TransLink added its weekend and holiday beach bus from Coquitlam Central to Buntzen Lake in mid-April.
The 179 bus service is as follows:
- Every 30 minutes towards Buntzen Lake from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
- Every 30 minutes towards Coquitlam Central Station from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.