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Big rig parking at issue

City council must examine the lack of semi-trailer truck parking in Red Deer, the municipal planning commission unanimously recommended Wednesday.

“We have to look at the issue on a community-wide basis,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

“With this development, there’s been some focus drawn to this unintended outcome.”

The issue was raised from Scott Builders’ application on behalf of developer Bradley Gabrielson to build a sports bar and 17-room hotel at 6852-66 St. The application was tabled last month in part so a traffic impact assessment could be done on area street parking.

The new application contained a lengthy letter from Gabrielson objecting to the study’s $20,000 cost, its “unknown justification” and that MPC had approved other similar developments without such a study.

City councillor and commissioner Buck Buchanan said he’s monitored the area consistently and found parking wanting.

“On the Family Day weekend, I counted 60 rigs parked in that area,” he said, adding that number included the nearby Flying J truck stop.

“It’s not the developer’s fault. We’ve got an issue, we have to deal with it.”

Joyce Boon, City of Red Deer’s permits and licensing supervisor, said if all 66th Street businesses requested no parking signs for vehicles over six metres long, Engineering Services would agree and post them.

But city councillor and commissioner Cindy Jefferies said moving rigs off the street “doesn’t really address the issue.

“These rigs need to be looking for areas where they can camp for the night.”

The volume of trucks parking in Gasoline Alley and on Hwy 2 turnouts near the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum was also mentioned.

The situation will likely worsen when the new four-storey, 92-suite Marriott TownPlace Suites now under construction at 6822-66th St. opens. Three other hotels, including Gabrielson’s Comfort Inns and Suites, are already located on or near 66 Street.

Responding to Buchanan’s questions, Engineering Services manager Frank Colosimo said a study will be done on the Orr Drive and 66th Street intersection.

“We know there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. We are planning to do an evaluation with traffic counts.”

He also said changes are coming for the high-volume 67th Street intersection with Orr and Johnstone Drives.

“Next year or the year after, dual left-turning lanes are planned, but it depends on the Travelaire redevelopment. It’s a very dynamic situation, it is busy.”

The land of the defunct travel trailer maker is zoned for commercial development.

Commission citizen representative Jim Marke asked why an approval condition was the developer building a sidewalk around the property when previous developers didn’t. Colosimo replied the area’s expected land use has changed from its original light industrial emphasis and city council now wants connecting sidewalks for better pedestrian access.

Gabrielson’s application calls for two buildings, one with a sports bar and pizza restaurant, with conference rooms in the basement. The second would house a 17-room hotel, with 13 rooms on the second storey, and four rooms, a convenience store and liquor store on the first floor.

The sports bar would cover approximately 2,300 square feet and have space for 130 patrons, while the restaurant would seat 30. A relaxation of about 300 square feet was granted since the bar is within 150 metres of another drinking establishment.

The application had been tabled twice before due to traffic concerns and lack of detailed drawings.

Administration recommended acceptance of the proposal and the commission unanimously agreed.



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