City of Trail looks to develop downtown parking lots

Bringing more people into downtown can be achieved with development right along the river, according to Trail’s mayor.

Bringing more people into downtown can be achieved with development right along the river, according to Trail’s mayor.

But how to increase density with development without taking away parking is what the city is grappling with, especially since it’s envisioning condominiums atop storefronts along property that is currently two parking lots on the Esplanade.

“I think the thing that we really need to focus on and continue to focus on is increased density downtown,” said Trail Mayor Mike Martin Tuesday. “But at the same time we’ve got another issue that we need to address, which is parking, and we heard that loud and clear through a business walk and through our other contacts in the downtown area.”

The concept of mixing residential into an urban setting surfaced during early talks at the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee table. The idea was later included in an action plan that was looked at by the council of the day, which purchased the properties with a project of this kind in mind.

The city has had the properties up for sale with Century 21 for several years.

There has been limited interest though, said Martin, because possible remedial action may be required due to some historical slag located below ground level on the two lots.

“We’re just working our way through those details with a detailed environmental assessment and geotech assessment and with that we’ll hopefully have the situation more readily defined, which will make it more attractive to a potential developer,” explained Martin.

The block could feature this mixed development, which would lead to the city’s white garden and the planned new library/museum. Dreaming up this new block wouldn’t be complete without thinking of alternative parking opportunities should one or both properties be developed.

“This is a major focus for council, and one in which we believe supports the initiative of some development on the Esplanade, where we would have increased residential accommodation in the downtown core, and that would provide for naturally some increased foot traffic in the downtown and utilization of facilities and services in the downtown area,” he added.

But the question remains, where else can the city put more parking?

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