Skip to main content

'Under siege' Deep Cove reducing visitor parking for the summer

Deep Cove is seen from above in CTV's Chopper 9 in May 2019. (Pete Cline / CTV News Vancouver) Deep Cove is seen from above in CTV's Chopper 9 in May 2019. (Pete Cline / CTV News Vancouver)

If your summer plans include hiking Quarry Rock or eating a famous doughnut, you may want to leave your car behind.

The District of North Vancouver has voted to dramatically reduce on-street parking in the small waterfront community of Deep Cove, which has become an increasingly popular sunny day destination over recent years.

On any given weekend, you’ll see people parking in residents’ driveways, in illegal spots and “driving around the block dozens of times trying to find parking near the (Cove Forest) park,” said Coun. Lisa Muri at a council meeting last week.

“This has been a problem for years; this has been a problem since Instagram was invented,” she said.

In order to try and balance the needs of residents, visitors and local businesses, district staff came up with its latest parking strategy, which is to quadruple the number of street parking spaces that are limited to residents only during peak season.

Staff estimated there are 910 street parking spaces in Deep Cove. Of those, 770 are currently unrestricted, 80 are for residents with permits only, and 60 are time limited. The plan is to make 70 per cent of the spots available to residents exclusively during the high season.

Starting in the summer, unrestricted parking spots will be cut down to 170, while 350 will be resident-only. A further 280 will have time limits on them for visitors, and another 110 will be time restricted for everyone. On some streets the changes will be year-round, while on others the new designations are only seasonal.

There are also 280 off-street parking spaces in the community in district-owned lots and school parking lots, which open for overflow parking during the summer.

Time-limited parking spaces will have a three-hour maximum between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., and parking permits for residents cost $35 per year.

Deep Cove ‘under siege’

During the debate at council, Muri tried to put forward an amendment to add four more streets to the resident-only zone. And she said she’d ideally want to see visitor street parking banned in the entire area north of Mount Seymour Parkway.

She said Deep Cove has been “under siege for years,” and that residents don’t visit the village area because “it’s so chaotic.”

Muri’s amendment to add the extra roads ultimately didn’t pass, and Mayor Mike Little weighed in to say it would go too far, giving “private exclusive use of public property” without compensation and that it could hurt local businesses.

“They make no money in the off season. So many businesses struggle every single winter, and for us to come and clamp down on the one season that they actually make money, I think that’s not fair to them,” he said.

When her amendment was defeated, Muri said, “I’m really disappointed. I’ve been fighting this fight for 20 years and I guess I’m going to continue fighting it, and the residents are going to keep fighting it.”

Other ideas floated

“I, too, am deeply concerned about residents in Deep Cove and the kind of chaos that’s been brought into their lives,” said Coun. Catherine Pope.

She brought up the idea of introducing paid parking in the area, as well as re-introducing a shuttle bus service in the summer. That idea has been tried before, when the shuttle operated on a loop with the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain, but it didn’t have great uptake.

Engineering manager Gavin Joyce said if the shuttle is brought back, it would likely be a Deep Cove exclusive one.

Coun. Jordan Black raised the idea of implementing a pass reservation system for Quarry Rock hikers, similar to what has been introduced for other popular nature trails in the province.

He added that he’d be in favour of making parking more restrictive in the future, but not until there is adequate active transportation into Deep Cove. The Spirit Trail’s expansion into the neighbourhood won’t be complete until 2027, for example, and the TransLink bus routes that service the area don’t have frequent service on weekends and holidays.

“That’s when I’ll feel comfortable saying we’re providing alternatives for people to driving,” he said. “Right now there’s still no safe way to ride to Deep Cove.”

Joyce said it might take a full year for people to realize that “it might not be worth their while to drive all the way into the Cove,” but expects the new restrictions to ease congestion eventually. Staff are expected to present a report on the results in the fall. Top Stories

Stay Connected