We think Lake Cowichan should back away from paid parking, slowly, so as not to alert anyone who might not yet have heard that such an idea was ever broached.
The community is just too small for this to make sense or to fly.
If town officials feel they absolutely must implement such a thing,which we do not recommend, then it would have to be on a severely limited scale both in terms of location and time of year.
We understand that there are times in the summer months when tubers are taking up valuable parking real estate for hours at a time.
Perhaps it does behoove some of the tubing businesses to provide some parking solutions since they are reaping the rewards.
Sunfest will also likely increase the volume of tubers on certain days this summer.
Perhaps someone can set up a service to pick up people who want to go tubing from the Sunfest site, and transport them from there to get their tubes, then to a desired place to get into the water.
That could help with congestion on Sunfest weekend at least.
But paid parking isn’t the way to go.
Paid parking would likely just shift the congestion to another location, while alienating other day tourist types and even those using other nearby amenities (like shops, the museum and the tourist information centre).
Nobody is going to want to pay for parking, and town really isn’t that big, so revenue would be virtually non-existent from such a plan, so that’s not a consideration.
It would just basically be like putting up a “no parking” sign on a portion of the public parking spaces now available.
Which doesn’t really say “welcome to Lake Cowichan” (please stay and enjoy our shops, restaurants and other services — and spend your money).
Such a plan would likley be disconcerting to and alienate locals as well.
Most visitors will just go down the road a ways and find somewhere else they can park if the prime slots suddenly have meters.
Paid parking certainly doesn’t make sense as a year-round endeavour, and it doesn’t sound like the town thinks so either.
Lake Cowichan wants people to come into town and stay as long as possible.
That’s the goal for anyone with a tourist economy, even if there are some annoyances.
Anything that makes the community appear less inviting is undesirable.