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District of North Vancouver cuts Deep Cove visitor parking

Planning to park in Deep Cove this summer? You may want to read this first.

Planning to park your car in Deep Cove this summer? Options for visitors are about to become fewer and farther between.

A split District of North Vancouver council voted Monday for new parking restrictions that quadruple the number of resident-only spaces in the peak summer months.

The idyllic seaside hamlet has become a too popular for its own good in recent years, with throngs of visitors driving circles around the neighbourhood competing with residents for available street parking.

Council has been tweaking parking rules in search of a solution that works for Deep Cove residents who have to put up with outsiders, businesses that need a steady stream of customers in the summer months to survive, and the visitors themselves.

District staff say there are about 910 total street parking spaces within the neighbourhood, 770 of which have no restrictions on them today. Under the new rules, 350 will be for residents only with a $35-per vehicle, per year permit (limit of two per household with extra available for guests). Another 280 will have time limits for visitors that residents are exempt from, and 110 will be open to anyone but time limited.

Generally speaking, the new seasonal rules will be in effect for the streets west of Deep Cove Road past Cliffmont Road, Mt. Seymour Parkway and Strathcona Road to Strathcona Lookout Park, and the streets around Cliffmont Road and Covecliff Road as far as Roxbury Place. Year-round resident only parking will remain for Panorama Drive, Caledonia Avenue, Eastleigh Lane and Banbury Road.

The rules are expected to be in place before peak season arrives in 2024.

Deep Cove is 'under siege,' councillor says

Although 70 per cent of street parking spaces are reserved for residents at peak times under the new rules, Coun. Lisa Muri moved an amendment that would have extended seasonal resident-only and resident-exempt time limited parking to all of Raeburn Street, Parkside Lane, Lockhaven Road and Cliffmont Road, and extending Cove Cliff Road to the top of Stratchona Road and to Roxbury Place.

But Muri could only get two other votes in support of her motion – not enough to pass.

Muri said if she had her way, the entire neighbourhood north of Mt. Seymour Parkway would be resident-only parking, saying the area is “under siege.”

“I’m really disappointed. I’ve been fighting this fight for 20 years, and I guess I’m going to continue fighting it and the residents are going to keep fighting it because council doesn’t want to try to find just a little bit of a tweaked balance,” she said. “This is not just about resident-only parking so residents can park on the street and visitors can’t. This is about managing congestion of cars that don’t stop coming into the area.”

Mayor Mike Little mentioned other tweaks he’d like to see in the future, but for now, he wasn’t prepared to turn more of the local streets over to residents alone.

“I think it goes too far. I think it gives private, exclusive use of public property without fair compensation to the municipality and the public as a whole,” he said, speaking up for businesses in the area. “They make no money in the offseason. So many of those businesses struggle every single winter and for us to come down and clamp down on the one season that they actually make money, I think that’s not fair to them and we will lose businesses.”

Council will review how the new restrictions of have worked in the fall with an eye to possibly expanding them next year, although the district’s manager of engineering parks and facilities Gavin Joyce said it may take a full season before visitors to the Cove clue in to the tighter restrictions and realize it’s no longer worth trying to drive there.

Because Quarry Rock is such a major draw to the area, Coun. Jordan Back floated the idea of introducing a pass system for the trail, similar to the ones BC Parks now uses to control access to its busiest parks. And until the Spirit Trail to Deep Cove is finished – currently forecast for 2027 – Back said he didn’t favour any major near-term changes in parking.

“I’ll feel more comfortable making parking more restrictive when we have active transportation investments that are actually complete,” he said. “Right now there’s still no safe way to ride to Deep Cove.”

Coun. Catherine Pope listed other ideas she’d like to the district pursue including pay-parking, reintroducing a Deep Cove shuttle service, and more enforcement with heftier fines.

“I too am deeply concerned about residents in Deep Cove and the kind of chaos that’s been brought into their lives,” she said. “And I’m just not sure there’s a perfect solution.”

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