Even Coach Wally Buono says, "Lower the &%$#@ parking prices!" – photo: bclions.com
It was supposed to be a joyful kick-off on a new (temporary) venue. What it became is a PR nightmare for the City of Vancouver. Longtime fans were miffed at the heavy police presence and the strict enforcement against the tailgate party tradition. Fans argued that a cold one in the parking lot with friends is something that has happened for a generation and no public disorder follows.
A day later, the City backed off – somewhat. They are now allowing tailgate parties, but absolutely no open beers. I'm sure the temptation of buying $8 beers in plastic cups inside the arena will be too hard to resist.
But it was the sticker shock felt by drivers who parked beside Empire Field – who were gouged by the City of Vancouver at $30 per vehicle – that is what is making most Lions fans roar. My advice? This is what 3-1-1 is for. Call the City and let them know, folks. Football fans don't have deep pockets to be able to afford this kind of parking price.
We've known for years that parking at stadium events is jacked up by property owners on certain days. Sure, it stinks, but people especially around BC Place and GM Place have other options. For example, they can park outside of the downtown and grab the Skytrain. No such luck at Cassiar and East Hastings though. You either bus it, walk, or drive.
There's a joke about when Lions & Canucks games are scheduled back to back on the same day. They say that Lions fans pull up in pick-up trucks, and Canucks fans roll up in a Lexus. The ticket prices for the two sports reflect the respective audiences for the two teams, and the BC Lions strongly have emphasized affordability and family fun in their marketing.
So it must really annoy fans who can get a good seat at a Lions game for about 30 bucks that they're getting stuck with a parking fee for nearly the same amount. Sure, you can car pool to offset costs, but realistically Lions fans are already probably tapped out. Tickets and concession costs should be enough.
Frankly, the City must ratchet down the cost of parking for Lions fans. Twenty dollars is still too much but more reasonable. The PNE is run by the City of Vancouver, and the man on top is King Louie, aka Coun. Raymond Louie. If you're a Lions fan who wants to take in a game at Empire Field, or even a concert goer who might catch a show there this summer, only you have the ability to get the City of Vancouver to stand down on this gouging. Dial 3-1-1 and let the City know.
Vancouver just can't seem to shake the No Fun City reputation. But clearly it's the rules the City sets and the high charges people face that are some of the reasons for Vancouver spoiling the party. If enough of us pipe up, perhaps Raymond Louie and the City will give Lions fans a break on parking prices.
As for the police presence, we all know it comes at a high cost having all those cops there on overtime. Someone must ask if there is a real benefit to having all those VPD members there or if, like the parking price, it's all a little too much.
- post by Mike