Uncleared parking spots, snowbanks affecting some Charlottetown businesses

While the doors are open at Liquid Gold in downtown Charlottetown, the olive oil shop's owner says it can be difficult to get customers through the door on snowy days.

Catherine Greer said she's become used to hearing complaints from customers who say they're frustrated by limited parking options because of snowbanks and piles of snow in spots that are otherwise vacant. 

"Customers have to climb over snowbanks when they park because they can't, like it's not cleared out. And they're starting to complain," Greer said.

Two days after the weekend's snowfall, Greer said she's glad to see the spots in front of her store on Queen Street cleared. 

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

On days when the parking spots are snow-covered, she said she sees about half as many customers coming through the door.

'Choked with snow'

Around the corner on Water Street, parking is also very limited. It's something Jennifer Ridgway, owner of Moonsnail Soapworks and Nature Store, is also used to. 

"It's reduced to probably about a half or a third of what it normally is. They've cleared one spot across the street for handicapped parking, but everything else is choked with snow," she said.

"They do tend to leave certain streets for last. And I guess Water Street, in my experience down here for almost 20 years, it's been one of the last that they clean out, for sure —  the parking spaces, anyway."

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

After a storm, Ridgway said she sometimes doesn't bother opening her doors in the morning hours to give the city a chance to clear the snow. 

The city said it does its best to remove snow as quickly as possible.

There are about 250 kilometres of city streets that need to be plowed. And that, along with plowing sidewalks, takes priority before moving on to snow hauling, said Scott Adams, manager of the city's public works.

From time to time, he said, the department does hear from local business owners. 

'We do try our best'

"We do appreciate their understanding," he said. "They do understand the complexity of it, and we do try our best to get the parking spaces cleaned up."

He said the city currently has six plows, five loaders and 13 sidewalk machines. 

Sarah MacMillan/CBC

"When we do snow removal, so that's all the removing all the snowbanks from around the meters and all that, we need trucks. We don't have the trucks in our fleet," Adams said.

"We have to hire contractor trucks. And if we can't get it done early, if we can't predict when the snow's going to be done, it's hard to schedule those trucks to come in." 

While she still has customers coming in, Ridgway said a harsh winter certainly has an effect on her bottom line.

"We're going to get the people who are making an effort to see us, but it has to be people who are mobile and can, you know, walk and maybe climb over a snowbank, you know, to make it in," she said. 

The city said most metered parking spaces are now cleared downtown, and the crews are now moving outward to secondary streets.

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