Drivers who feel they have a right to park in the Tyee Plaza…do, actually. But how much of a right, may be put to the test in coming weeks and months.
You see, back when the Tyee Plaza was built, it required permission from the province to fill in tidal foreshore in order to create the shops and the large, convenient, central parking lot that Campbell Riverites have considered almost a birthright for over 50 years. In return, the province placed a covenant on the parking area of the property stating that the owners needed to provide free public parking to the public.
“The covenant is actually with the province and previously there hasn’t really been any enforcement or whatnot done by the new property owner and so this hasn’t been an issue before,” said Elle Brovold, property manager with the City of Campbell River.
The city is not responsible for the parking in any way, other than as an interested observer, Brovold said. The covenant is held by the province’s Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations.
The issue is how extensive that parking access was intended to be. Was it completely open – park as long as you like – or is it limited?
“That’s the concern because it is 55 years old or whatnot…pretty old and it’s written on some very old paper,” Brovold said. “They said basically there has to be reasonable access provided and whenever you have that word reasonable it is open to some interpretation there.”
Brovold said the city has been in discussion with the plaza owners and the province as a result of inquiries from the public after notice was given about the change of parking policy.
“The city isn’t very clear on what restrictions would apply if any,” she said.
Mary Jean Jacobsen, director of property management for Tyee Plaza, does not believe the covenant requires them to provide parking to the community.
“I mean there’s a covenant in place but the interpretation of the covenant…I’m not qualified to determine how that’s interpreted,” Jacobsen. “The covenant’s not clear.”
Jacobsen pointed out that there is free parking provided by the city in other lots downtown.