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Next month you will need a reservation to park at Lake Buntzen

BC Hydro is rolling out a pilot project it hopes will help reduce traffic chaos around a popular park it operates in the Tri-Cities area.

According to the plan, visitors to Lake Buntzen will need a reservation to access the park’s parking lot starting June 27 and running through the end of Labor Day weekend.

Reservations will be free and can be secured through the BC Hydro website.

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“Buntzen Lake is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the Lower Mainland, and we hope this will help ease the ongoing traffic congestion, which has been a problem not only for parking, but also for the neighboring community of Anmore for several years,” BC Hydro spokesman Kyle Donaldson said.

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“On a nice, hot summer day, there can be traffic jams for several miles from vehicles looking to park either in the parking lot or in the nearby community, so we really try to mitigate that.”


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Seasonal paid parking at two Metro Vancouver parks


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Depending on the plan, people will be able to book a morning or afternoon reservation. Park staff will be available once the pilot is in place, and anyone without a reservation will be turned away, Donaldson said.

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“Reservations are tied to individual vehicle license plates,” he added. “We ask people to respect the time they spend at Buntzen.”

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According to BC Hydro, nearly 116,000 people used a vehicle to access the lake last July, up from about 83,000 the same month in 2019.

The lake is a hotspot for recreation, especially in the hot summer months, but with only 600 parking spaces, the parking lot often fills up by 7am on weekends.

The nearby Belcarra Regional Park, which is operated by Metro Vancouver, has faced similar issues.

The issue has prompted complaints from neighboring municipalities about long lines of idling vehicles and people illegally double parking in the community.

Metro Vancouver is introducing paid parking to Belcarra in its own attempt to solve the problem.


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Free Day Passes Return to Busy BC Parks – June 15, 2021

Reaction from park users to the reservation plan has been mixed.

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“Might be nice to know you have a confirmed reservation, you can just pack all your stuff and come here and know you have a spot,” Alysia Medina told Global News.

“It’s always a gamble, you come here with all your stuff and you don’t know what your day is going to be like. Been here several times and had to turn around and go home.

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Chris Eastwood told Global News he thought the plan was a “bad idea”, despite the summer crowds.

Eastwood pointed to the province’s camping reservation system, which he said was “painful” to use.

“There seem to be a lot of bugs with the websites that the government publishes,” he said.

Donaldson said people planning to use the park should secure their reservation the day before they visit. Anyone who changes their plans should log in and cancel their reservation so someone else can have the space, he added.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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