Cultus Lake Park Board commissioners were set to vote Wednesday night on whether to double parking fees in main beach parking lots.
Recommendations from the Parking Task Force include a proposal to increase parking fees from $1 an hour to $2 an hour, in parking lots A and B, and an increase up to a maximum of $10 per day on weekends, or $5 per day on weekdays.
“People are generally against the parking fee increase,” said board chair Sacha Peter, when asked about the feedback received so far. “I don’t think that’s surprising as people don’t like to pay more for things, and the rates are proposed to double.”
Task force reps have been receiving feedback on the parking recommendations from Cultus Lake Park leaseholders as well as from park staff, and the park board commissioners were expected to vote on the matter at the March 13 meeting.
Staff supported the recommendation to increase parking to $2/hour, but not to raise the maximum to $10 for all-day parking on weekends.
“There is strong opposition to this from commercial leaseholders who are worried it will significantly and negatively affect their business.
The agenda package for the March 13 meeting contained a letter from Cultus Lake Water Park owner Chris Steunenberg, who acknowledged the park board “is in a difficult position” having to balance park maintenance costs with the need for creating a business-friendly atmosphere.
When the park board first introduced pay parking on main beach, he recounted, people parked across the street at the water park to avoid the fees, which forced him to start charging for parking to offset the problem.
“We receive more complaints about pay parking than any other aspect of our business, and yet it produces no additional revenue to our business.”
The proposed increase could mean “a repeat of a similar economy at work,” with people again rushing to the water park for cheaper parking.
“Raising the all day rate to $10 on weekends or special days would have a very negative effect on your leaseholders’ businesses,” he wrote. “I do not know of any business that has the luxury of increasing prices 100 per cent overnight.”
The recommendations also call for paid parking to be instituted 365 days a year with daytime enforcement during peak season, overflow parking for Lakeshore Drive residents, and increased parking enforcement from the Sunnyside kiosk.