VICTORIA -- The Capital Regional District (CRD) is considering increasing the cost of parking at several local parks over the next three years due to a rise in park visitation and maintenance costs.

Staff with the CRD recommend that the regional district introduce a short-term parking fee this year, and increase the cost of daily and seasonal parking permits over the next several years to "bring fees up to fair market value."

The revenue generated from the increased parking fees would help offset the rising costs of park maintenance, as visitation reaches new heights.

The CRD says that park visits increased by nearly 50 per cent between 2010 and 2019, and preliminary numbers show that an unprecedented number of visits were recorded in 2020.

The regional district adds that the total amount of local parkland has nearly doubled since 2000, and that the increased visits "may continue even after the pandemic, as residents created new habits of use and/or discovered new regional parks."

In addition to increasing parking fees at regional parks, CRD staff recommend that paid parking be introduced at nine local parks in 2022:

  • Devonian Park
  • East Sooke Park
  • Elk/Beaver Lake Park
  • Francis/King Park
  • Horth Hill Park
  • Matheson Lake Park
  • Mill Hill Park
  • Mont Work Park
  • Witty's Lagoon Park

Staff also suggest that the CRD reach out to the municipalities that house Island View Beach and Albert Head Lagoon regional parks to determine if implementing paid parking in these areas is feasible.

"As the regional parks system expands and the number of people who enjoy regional parks grows, resources, as currently allocated, are no longer sufficient to meet growing demands," reads the CRD report.

A table outlining the proposed parking fee increases until 2024 can be found below.

CRD staff estimate that as much as $2.5 million could be generated through year-round paid parking. However, staff recommend that the CRD only implement seasonal paid parking, which would bring in an estimated $1.9 million per year.

The CRD regional parks committee will discuss the recommendations at a meeting Wednesday.