October 4, 2021

No Free Parking: Paying to Park Curbside Goes to Council This Week

The City of Vancouver has given everyone three months to think about it and now the the Climate Emergency Parking Plan is back. You can take a look at the report going to Council on Tuesday October 5th here.

There is a lot of misinformation circulating about this proposal, but there are also some interesting stats in the report :25 percent of Vancouver homes do not have a vehicle, and of those, half of those homes are making less than 50,000 dollars a year.

The intent of the report is to implement a parking program that has an overnight parking permit required in all residential areas throughout the city to cover roughly twenty percent of the proposed costs of the Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) championed by the City. With everyone who parks on a residential street paying a 45 dollar charge, the City hopes to have a revenue of 44 million to 72 million dollars during the first four year period. Program costs are estimated to be 1.7 million dollars to set up, and the program will cost one million dollars annually to administer.

While it is noble to say that the funding will go directly to the CEAP, funds collected go directly into the City’s general revenue funds, and then are distributed as Council allocates them. That means that a future council has the discretion to use these funds for other purposes.

Of course  the whole idea of implementing a pollution charge is a bit late in the game. As of 2035 the federal government has said there will be no more sales of gasoline fuelled vehicles in the country, and motor companies are undertaking huge shifts to supply electric vehicles. They will be more available and they will be cheaper.

If you have a lower income you will be able to apply for a reduction and pay just five dollars a year for your permit.  Starting with purchases of 2023 vehicles, if you buy a gasoline vehicle and park on the street, expect to pay more. The Council report proposes to add a “pollution charge of up to $1,000 to be added to the residential permit fee if you have purchased “gas-powered luxury sports cars, large SUV’s, and full-size pickup trucks.”  Smaller SUVs and “most gas-powered sporty sedans” 2023 or newer will be subject to a $500 annual pollution charge.

This is really a curb tax: if you have access to off-street parking at your house or own a garage, and purchase a gasoline powered vehicle that is 2023 or beyond, you are exempt. Some would suggest that those people able to park vehicles on their own property off the street would also be more likely to purchase new gasoline powered vehicles in the future.

If the curbside parking tax is going to be implemented, call it that. If there was to be a more equitable approach that would involve all vehicle owners, a surcharge that is placed on vehicle licencing annually might achieve better parity, and also snag those large SUVs on private property.

Joanne Lee-Young  in the Vancouver Sun quoted Andy Yan who found through data analysis that 18 percent of workers in Vancouver are night shift workers when there is no transit schedule or alternatives between midnight and 6 a.m. and must rely on a vehicle.

As Mr. Yan said “There will be some profound challenges in terms of these policies because of the diversity of the neighbourhoods.”

You can take a look at the YouTube video below that shows some positions on the proposed parking program from various proponents, including two members of Vancouver City Council.

ALSO:  check out Viewpoint’s CHATBOX on Patreon, to see Sandy and Gord go head-to-head on it.

Posted in


If you love this region and have a view to its future please subscribe, donate, or become a Patron.

Share on


  1. $45 ! I’ll take it! Currently new to the West End pay $400. Will COV make it equitable across all neighbourhoods if this passes? No one believes this is a “green” initiative, but just another tax grab and not fairly distributed.

  2. The vote for this bad parking plan would be split , thats is bad as such a major decision should be supported by all council. However giving so much power to staff is not needed and we can devise a much better plan together with BC govt

  3. We’ve given away this valuable resource (street parking) for free (or underpriced) for far too long. That being said, I don’t know if this is the best tool to accomplish the city’s green goal. That being said, the city has limited options and hopefully this helps move the bar.

  4. Classic example of competing goals- lets allow only 1 on-site parking on a “single family ” lot with a coach house and secondary suite to address rental/affordable housing crisis (last year’s news?) and now let’s tax the off-site street parking to address the climate crisis. Can anyone say “integrated planning?”

  5. Better late than never but far FAR too low an annual fee. $45/yr is a total joke. To get significant reduction in car use significant increase in parking (and urban driving) costs are required.

    Electric cars clog roads too.

    A surface parked car must be THE worst land use out there. Anything else is better: an apt bldg, park, mall, office or industrial bldg, sidewalk, bike lane or even a lane to drive on. Parking must be exceedingly expensive esp where land is tight ie denser urban areas !

  6. 100% in favour, with a religious conviction; my only reservation is that the fees are too low but I’m confident they’ll be raised over time. There is no opposing argument to this plan other than, “I don’t wanna!” or that it’s a “cash grab” – as if that’s a negative thing. Like Boomers using “woke” as a pejorative. Sure.

    Roads take up 20% of the city’s entire surface area and pollution covers the rest. Taxes don’t even graze the real cost of maintenance and damage vehicles have on our lives. This is the city acting responsibly. Besides, people want magical upgrades to infrastructure? All carrot and no stick? This is one way to raise the money. The congestion / cordon fee will be even better.

  7. Bike lanes on Burrard Bridge, which sparked outrage at first but soon became recognized as an asset. Let us hope that ‘pay for parking’, gains favour too. I was not active in supporting this and I should have been. I hope others will get engaged and make this type of policy a reality. There is no time to waste.

  8. The problem with the combustion engines is that they need to be replaced with clean electric motors and batteries. An effective way to do that task would be the manufacture of electric motors and battery conversion parts for existing vehicles. The entire replacement of combustion vehicles with electric vehicles is not a viable option given the long retention of vehicles and the rapidly warming environment. What is necessary at this moment is big actions that make a difference. City Council can provide the leadership needed by sponsoring international design build competitions for new green industries (what better place than BC Hydro clean energy land) new industries building electric motors for vehicle conversions, for example. This is a way forward with all in together to accomplish a single goal while diversifying our local economy and growing our ability to effect real change across the planet.

Subscribe to Viewpoint Vancouver

Get breaking news and fresh views, direct to your inbox.

Join 7,303 other subscribers

Show your Support

Check our Patreon page for stylish coffee mugs, private city tours, and more – or, make a one-time or recurring donation. Thank you for helping shape this place we love.

Popular Articles

See All

All Articles