Pay parking has officially arrived in downtown Tofino.
The district installed pay parking at local beaches in 2021 and after a few false starts, fees are now in effect downtown as of Monday, July 17.
Residents of Tofino, Ahousaht, Opitsaht, Esowista, Hesquiaht and Tyhistanis are able to skip the fees as they are eligible for free parking passes that can be registered for at tofino.ca/public-services/parking.
The free parking passes are valid at downtown and beach locations, though all other parking regulations, including time limits, are still in effect.
Residents of Ucluelet, Hitacu, Macoah and the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District can purchase an annual parking pass for $60.
Visitors travelling from outside the ACRD will be charged $120 for an annual pass.
Those who do not register for a pass will be charged $2 an hour or $4 for recreational vehicles.
Parking spots along Campbell Street and First Street will remain free for all residents and visitors, though they will have a one-hour time limit.
“We have heard clearly from our residents, visitors and business community about the increasing struggle with parking in Tofino’s downtown core. We are confident this parking model will ensure a healthier turnover of parking spaces to allow more people shared enjoyment and convenient access to downtown Tofino,” said Tofino mayor Dan Law in a July 11 announcement. “I’m very pleased to report that Council has decided to extend free and discounted annual parking permits to all West Coast residents. This is a practical way to tackle Tofino’s acute parking issues, rising infrastructure costs, and community amenity requirements.”
The announcement adds that parking fees are being introduced to reduce congestion and traffic challenges downtown.
“In it’s first year, downtown pay parking will be in effect between 9:00AM and 6:00PM daily from June to October and will be enforced by dedicated parking ambassadors seven days a week,” it reads. “Tofino’s downtown pay parking program is designed to increase turnover and parking availability, encourage a mobility shift to active transportation, and provide an important funding source for programs, services and facilities that will directly benefit the community.”
The district is encouraging feedback about the new downtown parking fees and those interested in providing comments can do so through talktofino.ca/downtown-pay-parking.
“Public input, data, and goal tracking will help shape the future of this program to ensure it benefits the community and program objectives,” the announcement reads.
READ MORE: Parking fees headed to downtown Tofino