Paid parking in downtown core may be an option in pilot project

·2 min read

Municipal council directed administration to return to next committee of the whole with a revised implementation plan, including options for the downtown core.

This would be prior to initiating the paid parking pilot project.

The decision came after a discussion about the positives and negatives of implementing the pilot project in town during council’s committee of the whole meeting on March 9.

The goal behind implementing a pilot project rather than a full scale community-wide implementation is to reduce the risk or impact of unintended consequences.

As well, it would enable community involvement and allow for the development of data that can have bearing on future expansion of paid parking.

There are 449 stalls in defined parking lots on municipal property across the community and 365 on-street spaces located in the central business district.

The presented 2021 pilot project proposed to implement paid parking in two defined parking lots.

The first is between Connaught and the railway, adjacent to the public washrooms, and the second is located at the Hazel RV lot.

Together, these two lots contain a total of 126 regular stalls, 61 RV stalls and two disabled stalls.

Coun. Jenna McGrath said a committee needs to provide input about the subject.

“Also, I’d like to see our seniors and residents involved,” she said.

Coun. Rico Damota said it’d be good to have experts provide suggestions about the matter instead. He also asked why visitors would choose a less-congested area where they have to pay for parking, instead of a more congested but free space.

Coun. Scott Wilson said he’d like to see an additional option of paid parking in the downtown core, maybe at a reduced rate in the parking areas.

“There’s concern about the tentative nature of this pilot project and a lack of attention to possible outcomes,” added Coun. Paul Butler. “People are going to look at these two paid parking lots…and look for other places to park.”

“The pilot project should primarily focus on the downtown, which is paid, or signage this year,” Journault said. “We should be concentrating on that area.”

Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the motion made.

Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh