“Build it and they will come.”
A perfect example of this maxim is in Belcarra, Port Moody and Anmore’s backyard: White Pine Beach at Sasamat Lake. Once pristine and called Deer Lake, it was renamed, sand was trucked in and a parking lot built.
Soon, the parking lot overflowed and there were cars parked up and down Bedwell Bay Road. Another parking lot was carved into the hillside; soon, that overflowed and, once again, there were cars parked up and down the road. On sunny summer Saturdays and Sundays, cars are now parked along both sides of Bedwell Bay Road, up to a kilometre away. Families with kids, dogs, coolers, chairs, umbrellas and beach toys hike down the road to the lake. It’s a pedestrian injury — or worse — waiting to happen.
The next fiasco will be Metro Vancouver Regional Parks’ recently approved “proposed design concept” for Belcarra South, the area adjacent to and immediately south of the Belcarra Regional Park picnic area.
The proposal includes widening the gravel access road into Belcarra South and putting in four parking lots to accommodate 60 more cars. In no time, that will not be enough; there will still be cars parked up and down Tum-tumay-whueton Drive as well as Bedwell Bay Road on sunny summer weekends.
When will Metro Vancouver Regional Parks take the lead on traffic and parking? There are creative solutions waiting to be tried, including park and ride. School parking lots sit empty all summer long; there is a huge, largely unused parking lot adjacent to Rona and the Moody Centre SkyTrain/West Coast Express station parking lot is almost empty on weekends.
Why chop down more trees when parking lots sit empty?
On the June 23 and 24, and again on the July 1 long weekend, the Evangelical Layman’s Church ran a free shuttle bus from the closed Ioco school at 1st Avenue and Ioco Road into the old Camp Howdy site for the Tea Festival.
If a church can do it, why can’t Metro Van?
Why can’t TransLink get on the bandwagon to provide extra service on the weekends in the summer months?
And what are all those yellow school buses doing once school is out?
A ferry service could bring Belcarra picnickers from the wharves at Cates Park on the North Shore and Rocky Point.
Suggestions for a more creative approach to Belcarra Regional Park’s summer weekend parking woes fell on deaf ears at a recent Metro Vancouver board meeting. Before cutting down trees and ripping out salmonberry and huckleberry bushes — food sources for bees, birds, bears and people — why not try something else first?
Run a pilot project. Try an interim solution to see if it’s feasible.
“Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.” Singer Joni Mitchell got it right.
The mayors of Belcarra, Port Moody and Coquitlam all sit on the Metro Vancouver board. Let them know you’d like to see a more innovative solution than paving paradise; email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Or go straight to the top and send the Metro board chair, Greg Moore, a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unless there is a paradigm shift in the thinking of the planners at Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, four more parking lots in Belcarra South will just be the beginning. Where will it all end?
Jo Ledingham, Port Moody