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White Rock businesses, customers are already missing the free parking

Last Updated Apr 5, 2019 at 12:02 pm PDT

Marine Drive in White Rock. (Source: Google Maps, screenshot)

For two months parking was free along Marine Drive in White Rock: now drivers have to pay again

White Rock restaurant owner saw a boost in sales when parking was free

WHITE ROCK (NEWS 1130) – White Rock businesses that have been struggling since a windstorm tore apart the city’s pier in December are once again taking a hit, now that parking fees are back.

For two months, the city provided free parking along Marine Drive. But as of Monday, drivers will need to pay $3.25 an hour to park.

Some restaurants along the strip are disappointed that customers will once again need to pay an hourly rate and are not expecting business to improve.

The city made parking free in the area for February and March, in an effort to boost business in the area.

Janet Wait, owner and executive chef of Jan’s on the Beach Restaurant, says she saw a 15 to 20 per cent increase in sales last month.

“[Customers] don’t have to pay parking uptown. So it makes it harder for people to want to come down to the beach,” she said.

As of Monday, paid parking returned to the area. Wait says she’s already heard complaints from customers. But in terms of business this summer, she says it’s too soon to say how busy they will be.

RELATED: Will White Rock’s waterfront businesses survive reconstruction of their landmark pier?

Retail spaces are being affected by the parking fees because customers are once again in a rush to move out of their parking spots.

“Customers have been a lot more relaxed… just coming down and spending more time, which really helps all of the businesses down here,” Dee Aujla from Beaches and Swimwear said.

“Normally, our customers are running in and running out just because they want to pay the bare minimum.”

Aujla admits charging for parking discourages people from hogging spots, which means you’ll be more likely to find a place to park in the area.

The storm in December split the beloved pier and threw some boats to shore. Before the storm, the city had planned to bring in a flat rate of $4 a day at a nearby parkade, but the cost of repairs changed those plans.