Ucluelet Visitor Parking Program

In order to support the demands of a growing community with a substantial tourist population, aging infrastructure and increasing service level demands, the District is exploring a visitor parking program for the community in order to meet these demands.

Background

As a resort municipality the District has been funding the increased demands on municipal services and infrastructure created by tourism through local tax requisitions. In order to support the continued demands from tourism on municipal infrastructure and services the District is considering a visitor orientated parking program. Although the District receives some funding from the province as a resort municipality those funds are aimed solely at the development of new tourism facing initiatives and does not contemplate the ongoing maintenance and care of tourism facing infrastructure. In order to maintain the high level of care and maintenance of existing and new tourism infrastructure and our community as a world class destination the District is considering the implementation of a parking program with the funds helping to offset the ongoing and future costs tourism has on our community.


We want to hear from you!

Please take a minute to provide your feedback on the District of Ucluelet’s Visitor Parking Program. This survey will be open until April 19, 2024. Print copies of the survey are available at: 
 
District of Ucluelet Municipal Office
200 Main Street, Ucluelet, BC
Open to the public Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 4:00PM (excluding holidays).
 
Ucluelet Community Centre
500 Matterson Drive, Ucluelet BC
Open to the public Monday to Friday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM, Saturday & Sunday 9:00AM to 4:00PM (excluding holidays).
 

Parking Program Overview

The District is contemplating a one-zone parking program that would require all non-resident vehicles to purchase a daily parking pass.

  1. Permanent Ucluelet residents exempt from parking fees.
  2. Normal cost recovery fee or complimentary parking for all other West Coast permanent residents.
  3. Blanket parking program inclusive of all municipally owned parking areas inclusive of primary and secondary streets and parking lots.
  4. A flat daily rate for all visitor vehicles.
  5. Kiosk and/or digital payment system.

District wide fair zone (streets, parking lots, District properties)

 Pros  Cons
 
  • Reduce the spillover effect from visitors looking for free parking areas
  • Ease of implementation & enforcement
  • Reduced signage requirements
  • Reduced number of kiosks
  • Encourage visitors to walk from local accommodation rather than drive
  • Potential to ease / reduce future parking lot expansion requirements
  • Potential for increased amount of parking in private parking lots (potential mitigation through installation of signage indication private lot is parking fee compliant)

 Flat rate system (day rate) i.e. $5/day

 Pros  Cons
 
  • Ease of implementation
  • Increase likelihood of longer visitations
  • Easier for visitors, buy once & good for the day no matter where they park
  • Enforcement is easier
  • Visitors stopping by quickly may not purchase a pass

 Local Residents Exemptions

 Pros  Cons
 
  • Does not impose an additional cost on residents already paying property taxes
  • Increased oversight costs
  • Does not discourage local vehicle usage behaviours
  • Reduced total revenues

West Coast Residents (Normal Cost Recovery for Administration of parking passes)

 Pros  Cons
 
  • Ucluelet residents are not subsidizing neighbouring residents that do not directly contribute to municipal services
  • West coast residents outside of Ucluelet will not be subject to the full parking fees only administration cost recovery
  • West coast residents will need to register the vehicles and pay a nominal cost recovery fee for administering the pass

Business

 Pros  Cons
 
  • Complimentary parking pass for all local businesses, or
  • An annual fee that would cover the administrative costs of the program
  • Minimizes impact of parking fees on local businesses
  • ICBC estimate 750 commercial vehicles are registered in Ucluelet
  • Adds a cost to local businesses that operate commercial vehicles

 

General Impact Assessment

If a parking program is to be implemented based on the suggestions within this report the below table provides an overview of the potential anticipated impacts to the various stakeholders that reside or visit the community.

Permanent Residents
  • Residents will be required to register and display parking passes.
West Coast Residents
  • Required to register and display parking pass.
Day Trippers to the West Coast
  • Unlikely to see a reduction in visitations.
  • Planned trip, will visit all sites they want to explore.
Overnight Visitors
  • Potential for reduced travel inside town, may walk or bike rather than drive to locations.
Day Tripper from Tofino
  • Possible change in number of visits to Ucluelet over the entirety of a stay. i.e. if visitors want to explore the wild pacific trail a parking fee is unlikely to affect this decision.
  • Visitors to Tofino and the National Park are already paying for parking passes in both locations already.
Fishing Community
  • Very unlikely that a visitor will change their destination based on a parking fee.
Local Business Visitations
  • Impacts on various businesses is very difficult to predict or validate.  Residential visitations to businesses should remain unchanged if locals are exempt from parking fees.  With respect to visitors, if the above assumptions are correct there should be limited impacts for most businesses with some businesses seeing increased pedestrian traffic. Pedestrians are more likely to enter a business if they are walking than if they are in a vehicle driving to a specific location or on a specific errand.

Questions

A: Can a parking program exempt permanent residents?
Yes, through the use of a free parking pass to permanent residents, all permanent residents could be exempt from any parking fees imposed by the municipality.

B: Can the District extend an exemption or reduced fees to permanent residents of other communities?
Yes, an expanded exemption to neighbouring communities or discount for an annual parking pass can be provided.

C: How do we prevent pushing visitors out of parking lots and onto neighbourhood streets?
Parking programs that charge fees for specific parking lots or areas do see changes in parking habits with vehicles being parked blocks away from the core areas in order to avoid paying parking fees. The District is considering a blanket, community wide, parking program, all parking lots, streets, side streets etc. to require a parking permit (no free or time restricted parking areas) this would negate the incentive for visitors to search out ‘free’ parking opportunities.

D: How would the District mitigate visitors leaving cars in private parking lots?
The District has little control over private lands and no way to provide coverage or oversight of private parking areas. The prohibition from aiding a business prevents a municipality from assisting a business in this manner.

E: Can the District implement a program that is specific to existing parking lots?
Yes, there are a variety of options for implementing a parking fee program including charging for specific parking lots, streets, areas etc. If only specific parking areas are designated as fee zones, the District would likely see increased visitor parking in non-fee areas which would undermine the program and have a negative impact on residents.

F: Can the District oversee private parking lots?
No. The District is not permitted to charge for parking on private lands. Local businesses could, at their expense, charge for parking on their lands provided they have adequate space and are permitted within their specific zoning.

G: What would the impact on local businesses be?
Staff would estimate that there would be limited impacts on local businesses. Visitors to the region have travelled specifically to visit Ucluelet, Tofino, and the Pacific Rim National Park. It is unlikely that visitors would avoid Ucluelet due to the need to purchase a parking pass.

H: When is the District considering implanting the parking program,
The District is actively engaging with companies that provide this service and are looking to implement the parking program in 2024.

I: Will the parking pass be valid for the Pacific Rim National Park?
No, parking passes only will only apply within the District of Ucluelet.

J: How will the parking revenues be used?
Parking revenues will be used to help fund programs and services within the District.

K: Will the parking program be active seasonally?
No, the District is contemplating a annual program.

 Feedback

The District is undertaking an initial community survey in February of 2024 and welcomes comments, suggestions and concerns from the community. Residents are welcome to provide their comments to info@ucluelet.ca.