The hunt for parking at Tilley Memorial Park

Canal Flat’s beachfront park gets overrun with cars on sunny summer weekends; Council hopes to add more spaces to the popular park

The last Canal Flats Council meeting included a lively discussion regarding parking changes to Tilley Memorial Park.

Councillor Paul Marcil offered a plan, as per Council request, to address increased parking for Tilley Memorial Park guests.

According to Mr. Marcil’s report, repainting the stall lines with smaller sizes could increase parking from 64 to 85 spots; this recommendation raised a few comments from Council.

“It would create difficulty for people unloading vehicles with floaties, coolers, kids running around, so (there could be) safety concerns,” said Mayor Ute Juras.

A letter submitted to Council on the subject stated while it would be beneficial to have more launch parking, making spaces smaller might not be a good option as there have been incidents with people parking their vehicle and trailer.

“This year already we’ve had to pull one of the garbage bins and fix,” wrote Sandra Butler. “With narrower park spaces we may have more problems. Some of the drivers are not quite as good as we would like them to be.”

Councillor Karl Sterzer reacted to Ms. Butler’s comments, “We could double (the parking space size) and still would have problems with people backing trailers in.”

Council did approve $3,800 for repainting of lines.

The second suggestion Mr. Marcil made was to re-grade areas alongside the road coming into the park to open up more parking spots, with rough estimates of between 15 to 20 new spots between those two lots.

However, beach and arena manager Mathieu Fornier and Bill Doroschuk, public works co-ordinator, both reported that a review of the drawings showed it was not possible as drawn right now.

“The idea was to see what was put on plan and drawing would work in real life. The basic answer was no,” Mr. Doroschuk said.

Interim CAO Dawn Attorp told The Echo that village Council and staff will now go through the process of reviewing and planning for the potential parking areas above the beach adjacent to the road.

Further discussion at the meeting revealed other Council members felt more consultation should happen, including meeting with engineers, consultants and others with interests in Tilley Memorial Park.

“I just don’t see why go off in 16 different tangents,” Mr. Marcil retorted, saying it is a waste of money to do further investigation when a plan is already in place. “I really feel we’re just wasting our time by doing all these studies.”

Mayor Juras responded, “I don’t feel comfortable making decisions with unanswered questions.”

She also expressed concern with Mr. Marcil meeting with planners without village staff present. However, he responded that he was asked to do the parking plan and he did it. In a follow-up interview, Mr. Marcil said while he met with people in the fields of grading, leveling, roadwork and line painters, it was because he wanted to keep moving forward on this project.

“We have a grant that has a timeline on it, and in my view, we have to keep moving on it,” he said.

The Village received a Canada 150 grant for improvement of various aspects of the park, including for parking of vehicles and vehicles towing boat trailers.

In the Council meeting, held Monday, May 23, Mr. Sterzer said, “I appreciate Councillor Marcil and his tireless efforts; I really do appreciate that extra effort.”

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