The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is encouraging community members to leave the car at home this summer by offering free local transit and a free shuttle to Rainbow Park on weekends and holidays starting June 19.
The RMOW will also offer secure bike and gear storage at Whistler Olympic Plaza, Lost Lake Park and Rainbow Park on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 18.
To help manage demand and encourage turnover, the municipality is also piloting pay-parking at four parks—Rainbow, Lakeside, Alpha and Wayside—with a target start date of June 15.
Pay parking will be in effect every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at an hourly rate of $2. Accessible parking will be offered at no cost.
Parking revenue will be used to support the free Rainbow Park shuttle, as well as secure bike and gear storage.
Adding pay parking at parks supports Whistler’s climate goals, the RMOW said in a release, noting that emissions from private passenger vehicles make up 57 per cent of Whistler’s community carbon footprint.
“By providing sustainable and convenient local transportation options to our residents and guests, we are able to reduce our local GHG emissions to move us closer to our Big Move targets,” said Mayor Jack Crompton in the release.
“Climate change is a global challenge that we all need to take action on, we need to act now to change our local emissions trajectory. We have an opportunity and an obligation to do our part in reducing our contribution to this global crisis.”
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Meanwhile, the RMOW will also start charging time-based fees at some electric vehicle charging stations outside of the Day Lots starting June 15.
The $1/hour fee will apply to Level 2 EV charging stations at municipal hall, the Whistler Conference Centre and the Public Works Yard (the RMOW does not operate the DC Fast Charging Station at the conference centre).
This winter, the fee will increase to $2/hour, while a $1/hour fee will be introduced to EV stations in the Day Lots (with a cost ceiling of $5 per day).
EV stations at the Meadow Park Sports Centre will remain free for 2021.
The new fees aim to offset municipal operation costs and increase turnover, while also encouraging people in Whistler to drive EVs, according to the release. The fees will be monitored and may be adjusted in the future based on usage.