A new temporary municipal parking lot is planned downtown following the closure of municipal parking lots 8 and 12, near the waterfront, earlier this month.
As part of its waterfront redevelopment project, the city sold the 70 Front St. N. property to construction group FRAM+Slokker, on which lots 8 and 12 were located. Although the city had leased the lots from FRAM+Slokker as an interim measure, the lots were decommissioned on July 5 to allow site remediation work to begin.
Last month, a nearby business owner expressed frustration at the loss of the parking lots.
FRAM+Slokker has offered another section of the property, at the intersection of Coldwater Road and Front Street, as a temporary solution. A staff report notes that the new lot will consist of 65 regular parking spaces and three accessible spaces.
“We have been working diligently with the city to try to find some short-term solutions to the loss of the two temporary parking lots of Mississaga Street and Centennial,” FRAM+Slokker senior vice-president Fred Serrafro told OrilliaMatters. “We're working to potentially use the existing parking at Coldwater and Front, and to provide those to the city, and others, possibly, over the next few months as a solution.”
Although the terms of the lease have yet to be finalized, Serrafro said FRAM+Slokker is not looking to charge the city for the temporary lot, and that the group is currently looking at a six-month lease.
The staff report notes FRAM+Slokker has offered the lot for $2, and the term of the lease is proposed to begin July 26.
“We have not finalized the lease agreement, but our intent is basically not to charge for the few months,” Serrafro said. “Obviously, the city has to take care of insurance and metering, or whatever they need to do, in order to operate it as a public parking lot.”
Mayor Steve Clarke noted the great relationship between the city and FRAM+Slokker.
“Whenever there has been an issue, they've worked really well with us to resolve it, and this is one that I think they went above and beyond (in) helping us find a temporary solution until the development gets going,” Clarke told OrilliaMatters. “The beautiful thing about (the project is we’re) just gonna have hundreds more people living, visiting–there will be natural customers for the businesses.”
The city estimates $4,500 in costs to install new signs, paint lines, accessible spaces, and the placement of temporary barriers.
Fees will be in line with the city’s current parking rates, at $1 per hour from Monday to Saturday, barring statutory holidays, though the staff report notes that pay and display machines may not be installed.
“Given the temporary nature of the proposed new parking area, it is recommended that pay and display machines not be installed, and lot 13 be established as a Passport Parking app-based parking area only with an eight-hour maximum time limit,” the report states.
If the lot manages to maintain 50 per cent occupancy through Feb. 1 2023, the city could see its parking revenue increase by $38,675, the staff report notes.
The loss of revenue from lots 8 and 12, over the same term, is estimated to be $5,700.
Clarke said that he hopes council will be able to ratify the new lot at the next council meeting, and thanked staff for their work towards the temporary lot.
“From the minute that we got kind of got a timeline from the developer… staff began looking at alternative, temporary measures, and it looks like they've landed on one that will come into effect sometime around the end of the month," he said.