Charlottetown parkade expanding, but spots already spoken for

A parkade in Charlottetown will be expanding soon, but the company that manages the lot says those new spots are already spoken for.

Construction is supposed to finish in June 2020, adding 100 spots to the Fitzroy parkade. 

Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, said most of the spots have been reserved for developer Homburg International, which signed a contract with the city to accommodate the company's business tenants. 

"They paid over a million dollars … to build their project to ensure that there would be parking available for them," he said.

Waite said the expansion at the Fitzroy parkade includes an addition that will extend onto Kent Street and a reconfiguration of the stalls, which he said will allow for more spaces.

But Waite said even with the added stalls, many people are still going to be on the wait-list for monthly parking. 

10 year wait-list

Waite said the three parkades the CADC manages downtown all have waiting lists, with some people waiting up to 10 years for a stall. 

"There's very little turnover in the parkade. 60 per cent of the parkade is monthly parkers. The other 40 per cent are for transient or daily — people that come in for short periods of time," he said.

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

Waite said some parkades have stopped adding names to their wait-lists. 

"It makes no sense to put somebody on the wait-list in the Queen parkade where people have been on there for years," he said. 

"You're providing false hope by just putting them on the list."

Sam MacDonald recently moved into an apartment downtown that didn't come with a parking spot.

I think that this is really going to impact people living in the downtown core. — Sam MacDonald

MacDonald said he and his partner couldn't find anything close by and had to settle on a spot at a bed and breakfast. 

"We contacted everywhere we could think of. Nowhere has any spots. So we ended up having to crowdsource to even find a spot that's still about five, six blocks away," he said.

He said the lack of available stalls could affect people in other ways as well. 

"I think that this is really going to impact people living in the downtown core moving here if they need to be close to their work, such as myself," he said.

Price point, demand

Steve Bellamy, CEO at the Confederation Centre, said finding parking downtown can be difficult for the hundreds of staff that work at the centre. 

"We employ between 100 and 200 people in the winter and in the summer that number grows to around 400," he said.

"So certainly parking for our employees can be challenging. The parkades though provide some relief, but they're even not enough with regular business downtown."

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

Waite said he regularly hears about these issues, and the CADC is working with the city to come up with long-term solutions.

"It's a huge undertaking because you have to consult so many people and clearly it's a combination of what's the long-term demand and what's the price point people are prepared to pay," he said.

Charlottetown CAO Peter Kelly said the city is looking at a range of options to create more parking, from building a new parkade, to working with private-sector stakeholders on making other parking spaces available. 

If you want to add capacity, it's a very significant cost. - Ron Waite, CADC

The cost of one spot at the Queen, Pownal and Fitzroy parkades is $100 per month before tax — something Waite said is underpriced compared to other municipalities in the region. 

"The city actually subsidizes parking to a certain extent so it's never pleasant to say the parking should cost more," he said.

"And that in itself I think would drive down the demand a little bit. But if you want to add capacity, it's a very significant cost."

He said the project will cost just under $3 million, with the city contributing approximately $500,000 to the project. 

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