New council will be urged to put money into parking

Additional funding would allow for more weeding and brushing in those parking lots, improvements to landscaping, addition of lights

City staff will be recommending the new city council put more money into taking care of city-owned downtown parking lots when it comes time for the 2015 budget deliberations.

Drew Hadfield, the city’s transportation manager, said this year’s budget has not allowed staff to carry out anything above and beyond basic maintenance.

“The current budget for all of the city parking lot maintenance and upgrades is $12,450,” Hadfield wrote in a report to council. “This primarily covers sweeping, brushing, weed spraying, grading, and line painting and winter maintenance where required on all of the city’s parking lots except the Community Centre and the Sportsplex. Over the past number of years this budget has been decreased to a level to only support a basic level of service.”

Council, however, last month wanted to know what it would take to increase the level of service and capital investment for three lots – one on Cedar Street, one on Beech Street and the parking lot at the Maritime Heritage Centre.

Hadfield reported back to council last week that each lot would require thousands of dollars to be spent.

He added that city staff will bring forward service level change requests during the 2015 budget process which will take place in January and February, after the upcoming municipal election.

Staff will be recommending $26,500 to $33,500 to improve the Cedar Street parking lot, located next to the Strathcona Regional District offices and $34,000 to $53,500 for the Maritime Heritage Centre parking area. The Beech Street parking lot, which is behind the Service Canada building, would require $21,500 to $36,000 to improve.

Those costs would cover increased levels of maintenance and appearance, improved lighting and consideration for CCTV (surveillance) cameras.

Hadfield said the additional funding would allow for more weeding and brushing in those parking lots, improvements to landscaping and, in some cases, the addition of lights.

Hadfield added that during 2015 budget deliberations council may want to consider paving two parking lots near the downtown fire hall and Coast Realty.

“Further consideration should be made to the expansion of the Cedar Street parking lot and the hard surfacing and lighting for the two additional parking lots of Cedar (north of 11th Avenue) and Cypress,” Hadfield said. “This would see the addition of 120 stalls brought up to a better and safer standard, and still be readily accessible to the downtown businesses.”