I attended the public meeting about the downtown enhancements projects. Overall, it was time well spent.
It was good to engage with the people who run our city.
I came away with many insights and thoughts, although one in particular was poignant: the challenges associated reconciling all the different viewpoints and interests.
It is definitely not an easy task for management and council.
However, the intentions of this correspondence lay elsewhere. It resides with the contents of the meeting pertinent to the ongoing downtown parking "issues."
I learned that there are underutilized parking areas not far from the downtown core. Some of them actually slightly closer than the infamous proposed parkade near Riverside Park.
The catch is, all of them require a little physical activity, perhaps inconvenient to some but entirely beneficial to all.
It was also mentioned that some of the "premium" parking spaces are not available to the public seeking services from these downtown merchants and businesses. Regretfully, some downtown employees are actually tying up valuable parking stalls.
It appears obvious to me (given the costs and the controversies associated with this topic) that some sort of employee parking policy should be enacted to minimize the potential loss of precious business downtown.
Lastly, while an integral part of the downtown experience for many, it becomes readily apparent that parking is only one of the many challenges facing the city's central core.
At a 40 per cent vacancy rate, I wish our downtown could rely on its "vibrancy," less on CP Rail's train schedule and more on effective planning.