Riverfront Centre visitors will have to find street parking after Trail council opted to retain long term parking across the street in the Esplanade lot.
“It will be used for monthly parking just as it is now,” Mayor Mike Martin said. “Visitors to the new Riverfront Centre will be encouraged to make use of the metered parking stalls on Bay Avenue, Helena Street and the Esplanade.”
Thirty four people lost their long term parking spots when the Esplanade lot behind the former Crown Point Hotel sold last year. Another 30 will be displaced when the city develops “Lot B,” now called the Riverfront parking lot, which is residual land not included in the sale to BOAZ Enterprises.
Once paved, the lot will accommodate 36 long term parking stalls. An additional seven metered parallel parking stalls will be created along the riverfront.
Council set aside $230,000 to develop the property later this spring, after Silver City Days.
Martin says the work scope includes paving and stall markings, as well as crosswalk markings, lighting, curbing and storm water connections.
The decision to preserve monthly parking follows a consultant’s report that focused on parking impacts related to the sale of the Esplanade land and subsequent design work on the Riverfront lot.
“Several concepts for the layout of the parking lot were developed,” Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac explained. “The preferred option was chosen that not only maximized the number of parking stalls to be created but also minimizes the amount of fixed curbing within the lot.”
The matter can be re-visited if parking concerns arise when the Riverfront Centre opens next month, Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff pointed out.
“As noted, with the sale of the Esplanade lands, the city is experiencing a net loss in parking such that providing monthly parking is probably the highest demand,” he said. “Considering where the Riverfront Centre is located, there most likely will be ample street parking to meet the day‐to‐day demands at the centre.”
Council should proceed .. on the understanding that if issues become prevalent, the potential to change the new parking lot to hourly/daily be further explored, Perehudoff added.
“Further, the Groutage Avenue area will also be reviewed in terms of improving pedestrian linkages back to the downtown from the pedestrian bridge with the further opportunity to provide parking in this area as well.”
McIsaac noted the development of other parking lots, more distant from the downtown core, will be considered in the future years and advanced as budget permits.
Parking habits are unlikely to change because the city’s monthly rates are so low. Permits cost $33 per month for street stalls and $44 per month for underground stalls, so there is little incentive for downtown employees to consider transit or ride-sharing alternatives.