Responding to residents’ concerns, Sylvan Lake town council has made some last-minute tweaks to its new pay parking program.
As of June 8 many of the choicest parking spots near the lakeshore area, such as Lakeshore Drive and Centennial Park, will be converted to pay parking for out-of-towners. Rates are $2 per hour or $10 per day.
To prevent visitors swamping nearby residential streets, parking would be restricted there to residents, who would register their vehicles for a pass for their zone.
However, just as pay parking was about to begin a number of concerns were raised.
Several churches were concerned that congregants would no longer be able to park nearby because of the restrictions on parking on residential streets.
A medical clinic was concerned patients would choose to go elsewhere rather than pay for parking and the elderly and those with mobility issues would be inconvenienced. Businesses also said their non-resident employees would be faced with longer walks from free parking.
About 30 people attended a special council meeting on Wednesday night.
Council recommended a number of changes, including exempting all handicapped stalls from paid parking and creating an additional 15 paid parking stalls near a church, said town communications officer Joanne Gaudet.
The number of vehicles residents can register to park in their residential zone was increased to four from two, reflecting the many multi-car families.
Council may not be done with its tweaking. Town staff were asked to look into the prospect of creating a parking permit that could be used by residents of nearby summer villages or Red Deer County. Some non-town residents raised concerns that they do all of their business and shopping in Sylvan Lake but would not have the same exemptions as those living in town.
Council is also considering eliminating the zone system, instead allowing any town resident to park for free in lake-area neighbourhoods rather than just those who live there.
Further changes to pay parking are expected to come back to council at its next meeting on June 12.