Tourists who insist on parking close to the waterfront in Sylvan Lake will be paying for parking starting in 2017.
On July 11, Sylvan Lake town council unanimously approved a pay for parking plan in Centennial Park parking lots and on nearby streets between May 15 to Sept. 15, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
Currently there is a no pay for parking system in town.
Residents will not have to pay in the lots or on the street by registering their licence plate, up to a maximum of two vehicles.
Parking fees in Centennial Park will be $2 per hour or $10 for the day. Street parking will be $2 an hour for a maximum of three hours.
Tourists or visitors will be prohibited from parking in the nearby residential area and residents there will get two free parking passes to park on their street. Residents can pay for two more passes for $50 each.
Despite the switch to pay for parking, free parking will still be available to anyone — visitors or residents — at the Railway Park Promenade parking lot, located two blocks away from the downtown beach.
Joanne Gaudet, communications officer with the town, said on busy summer days there are always many empty stalls at Railway Park Promenade and along nearby 50th Avenue that is also available for free of charge.
“Everyone’s parking in Centennial Park. They are driving around for hours until they find a spot in Centennial Park when there’s ample parking by the railway,” said Gaudet on Wednesday.
The plan also includes signs to direct visitors to free parking. Information will be posted this summer to alert visitors to the parking changes coming next year.
Centennial Park lots have a total of 303 parking stalls. Paid parking on the streets will be in effect at 295 stalls.
Gaudet said three open houses were held to gather input from the community on visitor parking and the town received about 300 online responses. Another open house will be held to update residents.
She said potential net annual revenue is about $92,000 from the parking strategy that will be put towards maintenance in the downtown and beach area.