Paid parking will soon be enforced at the Tri-Cities’ busiest park

Beginning April 1st, paid parking will cost $2 per hour at Belcarra Regional Park.

Good Morning! It’s Morgan again with another copy of your Tri-Cities Dispatch.

I’m happy to announce we have just hired a Managing Editor – say hi to Jeremy Shepherd! I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since I started working on this project. Our audience has grown significantly in such a short time. But sadly, my journey here with the Tri-Cities Dispatch is coming to a close and this will be my last edition for the time being. I can’t emphasize enough how much I will miss all of your kind feedback and positive engagement!

By the hour: Paid parking will soon be coming to Belcarra Regional Park. Beginning April 1st, parking will cost $2 per hour. There will be no limit on how long you can park your vehicle as long as you continue to pay the hourly rate. Paid parking will span across the entire park – including the White Pine Beach and Belcarra Picnic Area.

Metro Vancouver’s decision to enforce paid parking was made due to overcrowding and lack of available parking spaces. Belcarra Regional Park has seen a spike in visitors in the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Regional Parks Director Mike Redpath: “Parking is a finite resource, and today we’re seeing that those park sites fill up early in the morning … there’s unsafe traffic outside of the park that is occurring. We hope that (parking fees) will resolve some of those issues.”

Pandemic landscape: Because of the pandemic, more people in the Greater Vancouver Area are looking to spend time outside in an environment that is safe and socially-distanced. This influx was so significant that Belcarra Regional Park had to take multiple measures to reduce vehicle traffic in 2020. Last year,  Belcarra temporarily banned visitor parking and only allowed access to local residents and permit holders. 

Greener lifestyle: There is hope that paid parking will also encourage people to take greener transportation options such as: public transit, walking, or cycling. Reducing the amount of vehicles will assist in the regional-wide initiative to reduce automotive vehicle traffic. 

A new downtown: Port Coquitlam is currently in the process of planning a revitalization of the Port Coquitlam Civic Centre. The purpose of the $5.8-million upgrade is to encourage more people to visit Port Coquitlam. The redevelopment is part of Port Coquitlam’s plan to revitalize the downtown core area. After plans have been finalized, construction is expected to begin in 2022. 

  • The City of Port Coquitlam: “The City is working to bring new life and energy to its iconic downtown, a charming commercial zone and a vibrant hub for arts, culture and festivals.The vision is for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, safe and welcoming commercial and residential zone.”

Proposed changes: There are several upgrades that are currently in the works. From March 10th to 24th, community members have the opportunity to provide input on what they’d like to see from the updated Civic Centre. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Implementing an open-concept layout to Leigh Square to transform it into a festival space
  • Reconstructing surrounding streets to better facilitate cyclists and pedestrians
  • Providing a better location for Remembrance Day events by opening up Veteran’s Place so that it faces the street.
  • Expanding parking lots to facilitate more parking as well as providing space for food trucks

A new future: Come September, post-secondary students in B.C. can look forward to in-person classes. Advanced Education Minister Anne Kang recently released a statement saying in-person classes can be held safely this September. This statement was released under the guidance and approval of Dr. Bonnie Henry.

The decision was based on the accelerated vaccine roll-out, as well as the newly introduced Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Students and faculty will still be expected to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines

A year online: Adapting to online learning has been difficult for some, but Douglas College has been praised for facilitating distance learning. Douglas College was named one of B.C.’s 100 Top Employers in-part due to the college’s ability to adapt to virtual schooling. The postsecondary institution employed a Pandemic Response Team and a Phased Return to Campus Committee to make education possible amidst the pandemic.

Happening Around Town

  • Taste of the Tri-Cities: From now until March 19th restaurants across the Tri-Cities area are being showcased for a local food festival. Check out our featured restaurant below. 
  • Creating Effective Resumes: This Thursday at 3 PM the Coquitlam Public Library is hosting a webinar on resume writing strategies. 
  • Family Trivia Night: This Thursday at 7 PM the Coquitlam Public Library will be hosting a virtual family-friendly trivia night. This trivia night will feature animal-themed questions. 

In Other News

  • Local cyclists are expressing their safety concerns as the Trans Mountain pipeline construction disrupts cycling routes. 
  • Small in-person gatherings may be a reality in B.C. come next month. 
  • After a rocky February, the Coquitlam Teachers Association is advocating for teachers to move up the vaccine queue.  
  • The B.C. government has extended the deadline for small business recovery grants. 

One More Thing

Cherry blossoms are starting to bloom across the Greater Vancouver Area. In Japan, cherry blossoms are valued as a symbol of renewal and a sign of the transition from winter to spring. Check out this interactive map to locate the closest cherry blossom tree to you!

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