At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the City of Victoria Centenary car park sign says the car park is full, and it’s the same situation at the Johnson Street car park as well.
“Even if it’s full, I keep looking because usually there’s something there, even if I have to get on the roof,” said Mary-Jane Posno, a business owner from Victoria.
The City of Victoria says its parking lots are seeing an increase in activity.
As people emerge from their protective pandemic bubbles, the Downtown Victoria Business Association says circling for a spot can be boring, but it’s a sign that life is getting back to normal.
“Would you rather have a downtown area with lots of parking because no one comes downtown?” asked DVBA executive director Jeff Bray.
“The fact is, we’re seeing a lot of activity in our restaurants and our retail businesses.”
An influx of tourists in the summer months could also mean greater demand for downtown parking.
“You know, the more people there are, or if there are certain events, then parking can always be a challenge. It always has been,” Bray said.
“But…if you think of downtown as a mall, there’s always plenty of parking at the mall, even if it’s not right in front of the only store you’re going to.”
Over the past five years, Bray added, about 18,000 spaces have disappeared as private surface parking lots have been redeveloped.
To help alleviate the situation, the DVBA says it is working with the city to make it easier to find parking spaces.
“(We’re trying) to provide better information to people when they’re heading downtown to find out where parking is and things of that nature,” Bray said.
The City of Victoria also says it is adding more parking spaces along Government Street to Bay Street. Once these become available, spaces along Government Street north of Chatham Street will become long-term locations.