Creston council considers downtown parking options

Web Lead

  • Jan. 29, 2011 4:00 p.m.

A spirited debate at Tuesday’s town council meeting revealed there is no consensus among councillors when it comes to parking meters.

The debate arose when council discussed a request for direction from Lou Varela, director of development services. In a memo to town council, Varela listed five parking options that members could request more information about.

The listed included:

1. Maintain status quo for parking within downtown Creston;

2. Retain meters on Canyon Street only and remove meters on side streets;

3. Remove meters on both Canyon Street and side streets with no restrictions on parking;

4. Remove meters on Canyon Street and side streets with enforced time restricted parking on Canyon Street and side streets or Canyon Street only; and

5. Increase revenues by raising parking meter rates.

“Scrap number one,” said Coun. Jerry Schmalz.

“I like number one,” said Coun. Len Folkman.

Varela explained to council that she was not asking for a decision about parking, only direction in which options she should prepare reports on. The report, she said, would include cost and revenue implications.

“Parking will be abused if meters are removed unless we monitor the times,” Coun. Tanya Ducharme said.

“We could impose bigger fines with option four,” Coun. Wes Graham said.

After several motions were defeated, council finally agreed to ask Varela to prepare a report about the impact of removing all meters and enforcing time restrictions. The report will include mapping, financial implications, public consultation details, opportunities for additional parking in the downtown core and best practices, Varela said.

Council Briefs

•A delegation from the Kootenai Community Centre Society presented town council with a report on its Beyond Wild youth program that targets youth from 10-13 who might not have access to other more costly programs.

The program is now seven years old, program manager Kate Simpson said. A total of 47 different youth attended programs in the fall. That number is expected to rise now that the society has purchased and renovated a building on Cook Street, society executive director Dina Bambrick said.

While the Beyond Wild program has received $10,000 annually from town council in recent years, Bambrick said she was open to suggestions about how the society and Town could partner to ensure the program is ongoing. A contribution to help finish two or three rental suites above the youth centre would ensure the society has regular income to finance its programs, she said.

“Historically, our community geography, demographics and isolation combine to form a difficult environment in which to successfully combat the drug culture, and as a result many youth become involved in unhealthy, high risk and sometimes criminal activity,” Simpson reported.

Council has referred the funding request to 2011 budget discussions.

•The revised 2010-2012 corporate strategic plan was adopted. It will soon appear on the mayor’s page on the Town of Creston website.

Among the accomplishments for 2010, the plan lists the initiation of a revitalization tax exemption bylaw, meeting with the province to initiate the Cook Street realignment, completion of a study to create a regional policing model, completion of a final design for the waste water treatment plant, upgrades to the Town web site and enhanced health recruiting program.

•Council approved a request from the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition farmers’ market committee to hold a weekly farmers’ market in the Spirit of Creston Square on 11th Avenue between Canyon Street and the alley to the north. The market will be held in July, August and September on a weekday and will be for sales of produce only.