Ukee council looks for parking solutions at Big Beach corner

Ucluelet is considering a parking lot at Big Beach that would save parents from having to guide their children across an intersection that heats up in the summer.

Beach goers are currently encouraged to park at the community centre but during last week’s regular meeting Ucluelet’s municipal council directed staff to investigate the feasibility of installing a new parking lot at the corner of Matterson and Marine Drive.

The issue was raised by Coun Dario Corlazzoli who suggested traffic is becoming congested by beach users who are avoiding the commute from the community centre by parking along Marine Drive. A fire hydrant sits in the area and drivers are frequently seen violating Ucluelet’s bylaws by parking within five metres of it.

Corlazzoli asked whether a currently unused piece of land adjacent to the intersection could be pursued.

“Whose property is that and is there any possibility of getting any parking in there? Because right now people aren’t using the community centre (parking lot) and walking down; they’re just parking along the road,” he said.

He said Big Beach’s potential is being limited because tourists are having a hard time figuring out where to park.

“We’re not using it to its capacity, I don’t think,” he said adding installing a parking lot would benefit the community centre’s sightlines.

“It would open up a view from the community centre so that you would see the water and it would allow for parking that is very, very needed,” he said.

He suggested the Wild Pacific Trail Society may be willing to help pay for a new parking lot in the area.

Coun. Randy Oliwa noted nearby Black Rock Resort is sitting on undeveloped land.

“Because Black Rock hasn’t been building out that empty lot, I think it was supposed to be for staff housing, that’s immediately available,” he said.

Council unanimously agreed to direct staff to investigate parking possibilities.

During the meeting’s public question period, an audience member suggested installing signage to let people know the community centre’s parking lot is a public parking lot and is not reserved for centre patrons but Corlazzoli doubted this would make an impact.

“Even with those directions people don’t feel comfortable parking there and walking down, they just won’t,” he said adding the walk from the centre through an intersection that gets busy in the summer is a strain on parents with small children.

reporter@westerlynews.ca