SCUGOG: Councillors are considering the price of winter maintenance upkeep, after local business owners lead a charge to keep a Water St. parking lot open and maintained throughout the winter months.
On Monday, Jan. 12, Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett expressed frustration with the length of time that had elapsed since a December petition was presented to Council, and motioned for Fowler Park parking lot #2 to be immediately opened and plowed by Township staff.
The motion was met with approval from five of the seven members of Council, with Regional Councillor Bobbie Drew and Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville deciding against the proposition.
“There are more businesses at the Fowler Park lot than the Palmer Park lot, so I don’t see why the Fowler lot would be closed when the other one is open,” said Councillor Kett.
Earlier in December, 2014, Councillors received a petition from The Standard Newspaper, which included signatures from numerous business owners and residents from along Port Perry’s Water St. The group called for the municipality to fund the clearing of their parking lot over the winter season.
Many of the businesses’ employees, who typically use the lots during the warmer seasons, are forced to use spots along the side of Water St., which they say stops potential customers from finding a spot.
Councillor Kett asked Scugog CAO Ian Roger if the cost saving was a large enough amount to make a dent in the winter maintenance budget.
“Staff have obtained a quote for maintenance,” said Mr. Roger. “For a normal winter, the costs to plow, sand, and salt the space is roughly $2,500 - or up to $5,000 in a harsh winter, like last year.”
After noticing a strong notion of support for keeping the parking lot open, Mayor Tom Rowett and Council asked staff to speak with the proponents, and reach a conclusion to the icy ordeal.
“The closure of the parking lot is obviously affecting business owners – I know that parking is necessary for clients, and I have concerns about closing any available parking we do have,” said Mayor Rowett.
Later, Mayor Rowett asked if data is kept on the year-round use of the parking lot, stating that he has seen cars, trucks and trailers make use of the ice-covered asphalt.
“We don’t typically count the use of our parking lots during the winter, as we do in the summer. We have a play area at Palmer Park that can be used, so we have to keep it open,” said Mr. Roger. “The Fowler parking lot has been historically unmaintained each winter - but is occasionally plowed if we have available staff.”
With a passed motion, the plowing, salting and sanding of the lot is expected to begin as soon as possible - but the lot will remain ranked below municipal sidewalks and the Scugog Arena parking lot, in order of priority.