As expected, the City of White Rock will be paying $50,000 more a year for the waterfront parking lots following the renewal of its lease with Burlington Northern and Sante Fe (BNSF). That brings the annual cost of the lots to $400,000, up from the previous agreement of $350,000 per year.
The new agreement will last until 2018, at which point it is expected that the cost will go up a further $50,000 a year to $450,000.
It's a rate Mayor Wayne Baldwin said had been expected for quite some time.
"The rates were initially negotiated back in 2003," said Baldwin. "(BNSF) wanted considerably more than what they started at so it was negotiated downwards and then it was going to be a graduated increase so that's part of the price you pay."
When asked if the city is essentially tied down with having to renew with BNSF each time, Baldwin said there were other options, if the city chose to go another route.
"I suppose we can say we won't renew it and let them run the pay parking but I don't know if that's viable," said Baldwin. "We could always see if we want to purchase it as well, that might not be feasible, but that could be an option to look at anyways so we're not going to just let it lie."
According to Baldwin, BNSF initially wanted 50 per cent of the revenues from pay parking, but the city was able to negotiate that down back in 2003. As of now, 20 per cent of the city's pay parking revenue amounts to roughly $400,000.
"So I think on the whole, with the amount of land that we get, it's probably fair," said Baldwin.
As for paying those extra costs, last summer's increase in parking decal costs from $30 to $40 was meant to preempt the increase.
"So that pretty well covers the increase," said Baldwin.