Some local business owners hoping the city would purchase an empty lot near Fourth Avenue North and Cameron Street and make it into a parking lot learned that won’t be happening.
At the June 18 regular meeting, council voted not to proceed with the request.
Last fall Chiropractor Dr. Mike Bos and real estate agent Courtney Smith made the request to council, bringing along a petition signed by several businesses in the vicinity of the lot.
“We were very much under the impression at the time that our request was well received, but at this point it doesn’t seem to be going in that direction,” Bos said.
In addition to the need for additional parking, Bos said the empty lot is a “hot bed” of illicit activity, crime and loitering that ranges from serious to minor.
“The city has an opportunity here to make some changes, to develop it into something that looks more respectable,” Bos said.
Smith said the parking lot would encourage more public use and fits in with the development that’s happening in that part of town.
“It’s growing at this end of town more than any part of town in the last two or three years. There’s more traffic and more people and many of our customers are parking on the street,” Smith said.
Some of their customers will park on the street but then along comes a semi-truck driver who is trying to pull into Rona and people are having to go out and move their cars.
“On a municipal and family level, Kiwanis Park has no designated parking, only on street parking. If you have a family with more than one child, you’re unloading your child into traffic on the opposite side of your vehicle,” Bos said.
Parking spaces are also prime when events are taking place at the Cariboo Memorial Complex as well, he added.
In his report to council, planning technician Chris Hutton said the block would be required to be included in the local service area which would require that all commercial property owners to pay the fees outlined in Bylaw No. 1643.
The parking lot can only serve the block of businesses in question, and, not very effectively, Hutton’s report noted.
He noted staff concurred that some issues may exist with regards to parking availability in the area, but argued 225 Fourth Avenue North is not a suitable option for parking in the area.
“A city parking lot is located at Third Avenue North and Cameron Street is located approximately 115 metres from the same location,” Hutton added.
Coun. Surinderpal Rathor voted against the motion to reject the request. “I do understand that the lot is outside of the downtown parking commission area, but every area has to be served equally,” Rathor said.
Council should reconsider the decision, buy the lot and turn it into a parking lot, Rathor suggested.
If it was cleaned out and had decent parking spaces, it would improve the area too, he said, adding the purchase of the lot would be covered by the funds held collected by the downtown parking commission, not taxation.