Uclueletâ€™s chamber of commerce sees a big tourist season on the horizon and has restricted parking outside its downtown office to accommodate the expected visitors.
The centrally located lotâ€”1604 Peninsula Rd.â€”had served as a small parking haven open to all drivers but is now a 15-minute-maximum affair with its spots designated for visitors centre, and chamber, business only.
â€œWe did find a lot of locals were using it to park, sometimes for the day, and using other businesses in the area. It was just convenient for them,â€ said the chamberâ€™s executive director Sally Mole.
â€œBut now that summerâ€™s kicking in, and weâ€™re getting a lot of visitor traffic through, we felt we should put a limit out there.â€
New 15-minute-max. signs were installed in the lot last week and Mole said the chamberâ€™s board made the decision because of an anticipated abundance of tourists.
â€œOur (visitor) stats are already up and Destination BC is predicting a record year for tourism numbers,â€ Mole said.
â€œWe do want to make it convenient for visitors and we know that weâ€™re going to get a really busy summer this year.â€
She does not expect the move to be met with much criticism from locals who she believes understand why the restrictions were needed.
â€œI think everyone understands this is what weâ€™re here for: primarily to serve the visiting public and people that want to come in and talk chamber business,â€ she said.
â€œWe have talked to some of the surrounding businesses and theyâ€™ve been great…I donâ€™t really see it becoming a problem (and) if it becomes a problem we would look for some way to make it work.â€
She said Uclueletâ€™s streets are starting to fill up and parking is becoming an issue in town but suggested some parking areas remain underutilized.
â€œItâ€™s getting to the point that, yes, we are getting a little concerned about parking. But I also think weâ€™re not utilizing some of the things that we have,â€ she said citing an often-vacant parking lot across from the Ucluelet RCMP detachment on Cedar Road as an example.
â€œI donâ€™t see that being fully utilized. So there are areas where we can send people to park,â€ she said.