“British Columbians are passionate about our parks, and this passion has helped us far exceed sales expectations for our specialty licence plates, generating more revenue for our parks and protected areas in one year than was initially forecasted for five years ,” said George Heyman, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “I encourage B.C. motorists to continue to support the licence plate program, so we can keep investing in additional programs and projects that will preserve and improve our natural spaces.”
Revenue from the sales of specialty licence plates is going to a number of diverse programs and projects related to conservation, community engagement and Indigenous relations. Two examples are the recently announced Student Ranger Program and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation’s GO Grants Program.
The licence plate program is a partnership between the Province and ICBC. Motorists can choose one of three specialty plate designs depicting scenes from B.C.’s parks and protected areas. The designs include the Kermode bear, an elusive white version of black bear found on B.C.’s coast, the snow-capped Purcell Mountains, symbolizing the province’s Interior region, and Porteau Cove, overlooking Howe Sound.
The Kermode bear design has been the most popular with 36,936 plates sold, followed by the Purcell Mountains, with 35,030 sales, and Porteau Cove, with 29,102 sales. Starting in summer 2018, customers with a fleet insurance policy will be able to purchase plates for all their fleet vehicles.
“Selling more than 100,000 BC Parks plates this quickly is a significant accomplishment. We could not have been this successful without the support of Autoplan brokers,” said Sharon Craver, interim vice-president of insurance strategy, product and pricing, ICBC. “We look forward to seeing how many more plates are sold now that they’re available for fleet customers. ICBC is proud to be doing our part to support B.C.’s beautiful parks and conservation areas.”
Available at ICBC’s Autoplan broker offices, the specialty licence plates cost $50 for the initial purchase, and $40 for each annual renewal. All net proceeds from the sale and ongoing renewals of the specialty plates are being re-invested back into provincial parks through the Park Enhancement Fund. This fund is a special account, where revenues enhance programs or services in provincial parks beyond the core services provided by government.
More programs and projects funded from the proceeds of license plate sales will be unveiled in the coming year.
* In B.C., there are 1,033 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas, covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base.
* BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America, behind the United States National Park Service and Parks Canada.
* B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits each year.
* Most passenger vehicles, motorhomes and light commercial vehicles (under 5,500 kilograms) are eligible for the BC Parks plates. Vehicles that are not eligible include motorcycles, off-road vehicles, trailers, farm-plated vehicles and larger commercial vehicles (over 5,500 kilograms).