New parking lot for Tofino

A new parking lot is expected to land in Tofino in time for summer.

The new lot will be located at 171 Second Street and will hold about 5 parking spots.

Tofino received the roughly 110 square metres of already-asphalted land through a Right of Way agreement with Telus that stipulates any improvements to the property would be done on the district’s dime.

Tofino has budgeted about $35,000 for the project; $31,120 will come from the district’s parking in lieu fund and the remaining $3,880 will be donated by Telus, according to a report from Tofino’s RMI services manager April Froment.

She suggested work could kick off soon enough to have the parking lot in place by summer.

Tofino’s municipal council reviewed Froment’s report on April 14 and agreed to move ahead with the project.

Coun. Duncan McMaster said he liked the plan but wondered if there was any room to squeeze in a spot specifically designed for motorcycles.

“I’m glad to see, after removing some of the parking (spots) with the improvements we’ve been doing, that we’re actually gaining some,” he said.

“We don’t get a lot of motorbikes that come to town, but we get a few and I know people get frustrated when a motorcycle occupies a whole parking spot and I think if we could create a few spots for motorcycles that would really help.”

Coun. Greg Blanchette opposed the project and said he walks along Second Street often and was disappointed to see the district’s parking lot plans.

“Second Street is a complete disaster as far as pedestrian travel goes and the only respite on it is that little hedge, basically, that is right where the entrance to this proposed parking lot will be,” he said.

“I would much prefer not to see this go forward until we figure out what we’re going to do about pedestrianism on Second Street.”

He said he would rather see the area become a beautified community space.

“I also question what area this parking lot is servicing. It’s kind of plunked in the middle of nowhere right beside another great big parking lot,” he said.

“I don’t see somebody driving into town homing in on this little out of the way parking lot; there’s really no reason for them to go down past the Fire Hall to find this parking lot.”

Mayor Josie Osborne noted the land is asphalted and ripping that asphalt up to create a community space would be costly.

She added the project includes a combination of green space and parking spots and said the new lot could prove useful despite being out of the way.

“No one’s going to drive into town knowing it’s there, but when they go to Sobo for lunch they might be grateful to find a spot somewhere,” she said.

“I think the length of time before we get to addressing Second Street there, and pedestrian safety, is too far ahead of us to forego an opportunity to do something with the space right now, because almost anything is going to look better than what it is right now.”

Coun. Dorothy Baert said the fact the land is already asphalted moved her opinion towards moving ahead with the project.

“I had originally considered this as being perhaps a space for a community garden and that kind of meandering,” she said. “We do have the Village Green but we don’t have many little spots to stop.”

She noted the new lot would only be about two blocks from Main Street and could allow the district to focus on beautifying Main Street rather than finding additional parking.

“We have a lot of parking in Tofino, we’re just needing to manage it differently,” she said.

Council approved installing the parking lot with Blanchette the only vote in opposition. 

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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