Skip to content

Letter: They make it too hard to pay for Belcarra parking

Not all drivers want or are able to use an app
Woodhaven Swamp Sign
Not everyone wants to use the app to pay for Belcarra parking.

The Editor:

Re: An open letter to Metro Vancouver

I am writing this to express my concerns about your parking restrictions in Belcarra Regional Park. Not the fact that pay parking is in effect, that is another discussion, but the onsite signage and ability to pay.

I go to this area not infrequently and have noticed the lack of ability to pay by machine at the Woodhaven Swamp Parking Lot. 

There are signs telling you to pay, but not where to go to pay if you do not wish to download the app - nor is the phone number clearly visible.

Here are my concerns with the current situation at this lot:

  • There is no meter machine. The closest one is in the Belcarra Picnic Area, which is 2 km away. If the park is busy and a person is lucky enough to get a parking spot in this lot and they do not have their phone with them or a dead battery, how do they pay? Walking 2 km to the nearest meter isn’t an option because they will probably get a parking violation ticket before they can pay.
  • If they do have their phone with them without the app, the phone number is well hidden on the sign. The phone number is white lettering inside a pale green bar. This colour scheme does not offer good contrasts to be clearly visible.
  • The sign by the stairs leading down to the trail is 6’10.5” (2.1m) off the ground to the bottom of the sign. The other sign by the pit toilet is a little better at 6’5” (2.0m) off the ground to the bottom of the sign.
  • The signs themselves are 18” x 12” (45.7cm x 30.5cm) with lots of information on them. The phone number to pay by phone however is very difficult to find, let alone read. The number is inside a 1 5/16” x ½” (34mm x 12mm) green bar and is only 1/8” (3mm) high. Can someone please explain to me how anyone is supposed to identify and read this?
  • Let's add into the issue, young children with a parent. How are they supposed to find the phone number, hold their credit card and keep their children safe from being put in danger from moving vehicles? There is a sign near the entrance to the lot but again I believe safety is an issue.
  • Another issue would be colour blindness. Without proper colour contrast and size it will be impossible to see the phone number.

The parks are well patrolled by Concord Parking. I will give them credit, no one is going to skip paying to park in here.

I was able to talk with two Concord Parking patrol people down in the picnic area and found out they only patrol and issue tickets but another company “Honk” collects the fees. 

The two companies do ensure a person can see their names on the signage, but no useful information for the patrons of the park.

How much of the fees come back to MVRP or does it all just go these two companies?

In closing, I feel until the signs are changed to make it easier to see the pertinent information, Metro Vancouver Regional Parks are failing to ensure people visiting this part of the park, start with an easy, safe and fair way to start their visit.

- Steve Davis, Coquitlam