Langford mayor promises more parking to lure disgruntled drivers
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, January 4, 2018 6:43PM PST
Langford Mayor Stew Young is hoping to capitalize on downtown Victoria's parking woes by building new lots in a bid to lure shoppers to the West Shore.
Langford, one of the province's fastest-growing cities, already has ample parking – but Young says he wants more.
He says the city is going the opposite direction of Victoria, which has encouraged people to carpool or bike downtown to help ease full parking lots and diminishing stalls.
"Policy that borders on harassment or takes away parking stalls, that is not going to help the business community," Young told CTV News by phone Thursday.
Down the highway, business owners in Victoria say they're living in an alternate reality where parking is disappearing to make way for bike lanes.
"We end up with situations [where people say] 'Oh, I'd love to come to your restaurant, but I can't park downtown," said Bruce Gillespie, owner of Little Jumbo on Fort Street.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps fired back at Young's comments Thursday, defending the city's focus on getting more people onto transit and their bikes.
"We are taking a really comprehensive approach to mobility, where it seems like Langford is taking a car-focused approach, and that's fine. As I said, they're two different communities," said Helps.
Helps says the loss of parking comes from a gain in construction as the free market deems office space and housing are more valuable than parking space in B.C.'s capital.
But on the West Shore, Young says he just wants to break ground on new parking projects and for now, property values afford him that changes.
"Who wants to invest in a town that actually attacks a business rather than helps them?" asked Young. "Parking may be a part of that, and in Langford, that's not going to happen."
Construction on the Fort Street bike lanes in downtown Victoria is expected to last until the lanes open in spring of this year.