I have read the recent story about how Sidney council foresees that the new free parking facility at Mary Winspear is going to solve most of the parking situations faced by this town. Let me preface my comments by making it clear that newer members of our city council may not be fully informed about how the horrendous parking rules in Sidney have affected residents who live close to Beacon Avenue.
The article stated the parking lot was “a way to entice shoppers to come and spend their money in Sidney by offering free parking.”
Myself and so many others beg to differ. It referred to the fact that those who live out of town but come here to work could now not have the worry about having to move their vehicles every two hours because of parking rules within a few blocks of Beacon Avenue.
The most important factor was not addressed. Most of those people park just 20 feet from where the two-hour zones end – right in front of our homes where they can park for up to 24 hours.
I agree that the new parking facility should not try to squeeze revenue from those drivers who come here but let’s be reasonable about it.
I myself jumped feet first into the parking mess on our street and took the time to study it for months on end. I even took plate numbers of vehicles that take the parking spots in front of our building every day and presented them to city hall. It was to no avail because of the fact that every street in the downtown area allows all day parking just two blocks from Beacon Avenue.
There are two simple ways to fix this but our city council took a blind eye. My main suggestion to them was that it’s time this town put residential only parking spots on every street from First to Seventh. I’m not suggesting that the entire street be residential parking, with perhaps 60 to 70 per cent should be designated that way just as is done in almost every residential area in Victoria.
The response was that it would be too costly to put signs up and too costly to monitor it. I say hogwash.
Every resident on every street that is affected by this would simply have to go and register their licence plate number at city hall and prove their address.
I can assure you that the residents of my building who have no choice but to park on the street would monitor the street on their own.
Those who come into this town to work need a place to park but it must be made clear to all of them that they must park at Mary Winspear from now on. Employers must be made to notify their employees that this is the new way and that they can’t park in parking spots marked residential or they will be towed. When I go into Victoria there is no way I can park for free when I go downtown.
These workers come into Sidney and spend very little here and yet they get to park for free. I live here and spend 90 per cent of my meager income here and yet I can’t leave my building to go for a doctor’s appointment because by 9 a.m. I will not find a parking spot within five to eight blocks until after 5 p.m.
I will close by saying that in my letter to city hall last year I asked about the process to speak at a council meeting. I was told I would be granted three minutes. Half of that time would be spent giving my personal information.
Robert G. Duquette