The City of Campbell River has received a petition with over 200 signatures asking for 2-hour parking to be reinstated along Pier Street.
Council received a pair of letters in January calling for change to the allowable parking time, but that was just the latest round of complaints, according to some city councilors who said this problem has been needing attention for years. Council directed staff to consult with the merchants and businesses in the area about the issue and when that report came back a few weeks later, they pulled the trigger on making the change, reducing parking to a one-hour limit.
The petition received by council at their April 9 meeting says, in part, “these signatures are comprised of merchants, patrons and various others all in agreement that the one hour change is not a solution to the lack of parking along our main street,” claiming “the majority of Pier Street businesses are service based, businesses such as dentists, doctors, salons, spas, travel agents, restaurants, lawyers, accountants and the list goes on.
A one-hour limitation, the petition says, will negatively impact those businesses and could force many to relocate to areas where their patrons can park for longer periods.
“This would be a shame as this has been the face of our downtown community for decades,” the petition says.
That was precisely one of the concerns raised by Coun. Colleen Evans when the initial proposal came forward to make the change.
While Pier Street used to be a primarily retail area, Evans said, “now people have longer-term appointments and we have other non-service-type businesses residing there,” many of which have parking needs that a retail business would not. “Shorter term (parking) could be beneficial for the retail businesses, but what would that mean for the others?”
Part of the reason the change was being considered at all was to deal with what has been referred to as the “two hour shuffle,” where employees of the businesses in the area park in the time-limited parking stalls and simply move their vehicles to a new one every two hours to avoid a fine.
But those who have signed the recent petition say the change won’t fix that problem.
“A majority of (the available) parking is taken up by the employees of large businesses that have not provided adequate parking for their employees,” the petition reads, saying this change will only cause a constant shuffle at one-hour intervals instead of two.
“A solution may be to look into the larger problem at hand and not compromising the small business and patrons to the beautiful entrance of our city.”
Council received the petition for information, but made no direction to staff, so no changes are expected to be made in response.