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Parking fee poorly implemented #1065
Back To Discussion List Written: 2003.11.03 by: Paul Kubik

I think the gov't mishandled the implementation of parking fees. They deserve to be punished. I have little sympathy for parks staff whose duty it is to enforce the regulations. Neither government nor Parks consulted our user groups since the fees were recommended by the Recreation Stewardship Panel last year about any plan to implement the parking fee. The groups I keep track of are the Federation of Mountain Clubs, BCMC and Climber's Access Society. If you look at who was on the panel, it's apparent that non-consumptive recreation users had insufficient or lacklustre representation on the panel. The ability to make an informed decision affecting hikers and climbers was not there. The panel chair, Bruce Strachan was an MLA and a Minister of Environment and Parks. Aiden Vining is an SFU economist. Dave Narver is a fisherman and a hunter with a fish and wildlife degree. Bob Nalziel is a retired civil servant in Parks Management. Bob Peart is with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

It may be that the panel was not charged with the task of making recommendations about how the fees should best be implemented. Lacking direction from the panel and in the absence of consultation with our hiking and climbing organizations, we are finding ourselves, not surprisingly, in the current mess. In summary, volunteerism has taken a body blow and there is no mechanism whereby the public can gauge the perceived benefit vs. loss that arises from recreation access fees.

The Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection published a service plan on the web at Service Plan 2003-2006. It talks about meeting service standards for recreation. Guess what? The performance measures for recreation are visitor satisfaction with campgrounds and increasing the kill by selling more hunting and fishing licences. This must be some kind of joke.

Do you feel like you're being screwed yet? Until we have a meaningful measure of satisfaction for backcountry users we have no way of knowing if our money is being well spent. Do you want your parking fee going towards front country facilities or backcountry trail maintenance? From various sources, it would appear the former will be receiving the money. We have no way of knowing at this time, so there is a reluctance to comply with what might be seen as a revenue grab that does not enhance backcountry recreation.


#291 - 2004.04.23 Justin Brown - They've got to GO!!!
I can understand charging a fee for using certain facilities within a park such as campsites or picnic areas where there are certain amenities provided. What I cant understand is paying 5 bucks a day every time I want to go for a walk in the bush!! There are certain machines that only except change as well so among remembering all the things I need to bring on an overnighter in a park, Ive got to remember to bring 10 bucks in change as well. Last week I did just this and ended up leaving 3 hours later because conditions were too dangerous to go on. I was choked and felt like chaining that machine to my truck and dragging it home with me. I dont want to have to feel that negative energy when Im out enjoying a park that my tax dollars should already be paying for! Its a matter of priority for the cash grabbers (Government) and as far as Im concerned, these machines have got to go, one way or another. Its a farce!!

#290 - 2004.04.22 Steve Grant - BC Parks Parking Pass - 2003 foul-up resolved
As per my comments on 2003.11.07, we have received a free parking pass good until April 2005.

#282 - 2004.04.01 Nathan Cairns - Can you fake it?
I bought a pass last year. Printed on thin cardboard, 3" x 5", photo background. In large block letters "PARKING PASS" In smaller block letters "VALID TO MARCH 31, 2004" Under that is the spot to mark your license plate # (Vehicle 1 & 2)

On the back of the pass, at the very bottom (ie. not visible from outside the car) is the "pass number". Mine was 001504.

To answer the question, based on last years model, it doesn't look terribly difficult to copy one. I'm guessing a scanner and a pair of scissors is all you need.

Interesting that you no longer have to designate a specific vehicle. Why not just share with all your friends?

#281 - 2004.04.01 Drew Brayshaw - Can you Fake it?
What is the annual pass made of or printed on? In the US, the annual Forest Service passes were printed on coloured cardboard, and it was very easy to get someone to send you a scanned image file of one, and print up a realistic looking counterfeit on your colour printer. If its a plastic pass like Parks Canada uses, counterfeiting may be a bit more difficult.

#280 - 2004.03.31 Steve Grant - Parking Fee Rules for 2004
The BC Parks website has posted the parking fee rules for 2004. - The fees are supposed to be in effect as of April 1. However I doubt this will be the case for Cypress Bowl and Seymour until the downhill operations cease around mid-month, since you just don't mess with commercial operations in this province. - Last year the annual pass was announced as being $75 for 2004. However, the pass will be $50 again this year. It will be good for one year plus the remaining portion of the month it was bought in. - Whereas last year the annual pass had to be assigned to one or two license numbers, this year it does not, and so is transferrable. Maybe the outdoor clubs could buy a few. The downside to this is that it makes the passes more attractive for theft. Like leaving a $50 bill sitting on your dashboard. - These parking fees only apply in the lower southwest corner of the province, but the revenue is used for parks throughout the province. I trust our rural friends appreciate this.

- I'm also concerned that campers are being required to pay for camping before leaving the parking lot. This means that if you cut your trip short due to bad weather, etc, you forfeit your unused fees. It seems unfair to have to pay for parking to go hiking, and then have to pay even if you're not hiking. Who else has to pay for services they're not using? (And arguably have already paid for through taxes.) Could this lead to accidents because people might prolong a trip in the face of poor circumstances so that they don't waste their prepaid fees?

- The BC Parks website justifies this on the basis of it being the policy for Parks Canada. Well, two instances of stupidity don't make one sensible policy.

#159 - 2003.11.07 Steve Grant - No Parking Fees on North Shore for the Winter
The latest foul-up is that, apparently after lobbying by the downhill ski operations on the north shore, the fees will not be charged at Cypress and Seymour for the winter. Wouldn't want to offend the downhillers, now would we? Even if they'd be the most appropriate and largest source of revenue.

So those of us who bought parking passes largely for backcountry use at those places, have been screwed because this information was not available before we bought the passes. The parks website, two weeks after this change, still does not mention this information.

The passes expire next spring, just in time for the fees at the two parks to be reinstated. What are they doing for downhillers who bought the passes in preparation for the ski season?

I've requested a refund, but as is the case with all email to the Parks Branch, no response has been received.

#157 - 2003.11.05 Drew Brayshaw - Massive Non-Compliance
This policy is doomed to go the way of the previous initiative to make you pay to use the BC Forest Service campsites. Look at the ongoing vandalism and monketwrenching of Squamish area parking machines. Once the powers that be realize the new parking policy costs them more than the revenue generated from it (which is much less than enthusiastically predicted, what else is new) - they will lose enthusiasm.

Revenue is their only concern. Not public health or public good or promoting environmental conservation. When told that people could day-use the backcountry for free, the WLAP minister (my former boss) expressed shock and dismay "They are having an environmental impact [I think she means, hiking on a trail through Garibaldi meadows] and being subsidized by the pay campers."

The only good thing so far out of this is that the pay machines are so easy to damage.