A new parking lot at Ucluelet's Big Beach will help visitors access the shoreline as well as the Wild Pacific Trail.

Ucluelet boosts beach parking

New lot will increase accessibility and ease street parking congestion.

Ucluelet isn’t stalling on bringing parking to Big Beach.

A new 3,500 sq. ft. gravel parking has landed on Marine Drive across from the Ucluelet Community Centre.

The project had a budget of roughly $80,000 and will be paid for through Resort Municipality Initiative Funding. Ucluelet is one of 14 B.C. communities to collect RMI dollars from the provincial government and it must spend this money on increasing tourism amenities and enhancing visitor experiences. The province dished out about $10.5 million worth of RMI funding in 2015.

Ucluelet Mayor Dianne St. Jacques told the Westerly News district staff collaborated with Tourism Ucluelet and the chamber of commerce on the parking lot project and she is thrilled to see the result of that collaboration taking shape.

“Everybody agreed that it’s a good project to go forward,” she said. “It’s not going to be super huge, but it will hold approximately 11 vehicles and it will be good for folks parking and going down to Big Beach Park and that area and could be an overflow for the community centre.”

She added the lot could also help locals and visitors avoid the steep hill down to Big Beach.

“Their walk down won’t be as drastic, which will help with little people and seniors as well,” she said.

The district’s director of parks and recreation Abby Fortune told the Westerly the new lot would help tourists tour Ucluelet’s shorelines and could also ease congestion currently caused by street parking along that stretch of Marine Drive.

“It’s creating further infrastructure to support the tourism community,” she said.

“It will give them a proper place to park where they can access Big Beach and the Wild Pacific Trail and it adds another parking area for the community centre as well.”

Along with Ucluelet’s community centre, the area currently includes an outdoor volleyball court, bike park, basketball court and skate bowl.

Fortune said the district has no current plans to place time limits on the 11 new parking spots.