By Mike Williscraft
The parking chickens are coming home to roost in Grimsby’s Winston Road neighbourhood, according to several business owners.
Problems were evident when businesses in the area opened their respective doors, but in the last year, issues have compounded to the point where customers cannot find anywhere to park as they attempt to access, shops, restaurants and services in the area.
“Every business requires parking by law. In condos, it can be a combined usage based on the usages permitted. Before I chose to open a business on Winston Road, I asked the town what parking in the Lake House development was for commercial retail. I was sent paperwork to show 64 visitor spots for commercial/retail and visitors to the site,” said Anne Turcic, owner of La Maison Rose.
“Town (planners) told me street parking was not for business staff. It’s for visitors and tourists. I Based my decision on the information I was given and now being told we have two passes per unit unless we want to rent a spot or park on street.”
Even if on-street parking was permitted – there is a three hour limit along Winston – there are rarely spots as condo residents and visitors frequent them. They cited an RV which was parked taking up two spaces over two days last week and a white Mercedes which has been parked on the street daily for about a year as two examples.
“The RV arrived Friday before 8:30 a.m. The town was called three times by Urban Cravings. Each time we spoke with reception. We told her the situation and were then passed to the parking bylaw officer’s voicemail. No one called us back all day. No one showed up. The
RV was moved by lunch on Saturday morning. My staff let me know he came running out to move it as there was an NRP (Niagara Regional Police) officer walking the street coincidentally. If not for the officer, I’m sure this RV would still be here,” said Tara Kulawic, owner of Urban Cravings.
“This is also not the first time this RV has shown up, and each time he does it’s there for a couple days. Each time we call the Town and not once have we seen anyone come out.
Antonietta Minichillo, Grimsby’s director of planning, building and bylaw refuted that.
“By-law enforcement has not received complaints about these specific concerns, and we advise residents to file a complaint if any violations are witnessed. Parking enforcement officers attend complaints before proactively patrolling the Town. The Winston neighbourhood is part of our routine patrols and gets visited on a regular basis,” said Minichillo by email.
The problems go beyond what the business owners say is inaction by the Town.
The issues with the parking shortage are exacerbated by disagreements between the business operators and members of the site’s condo board.
Last Thursday, Feb. 10, Turcic sent an email to the condo board seeking answers to several questions, including assurance visitor parking requirements set out by the Town are being fulfilled, among queries.
“There is ample public parking (over 64 spaces) on Place Polonaise, Hunter Road, Winston Road, and other Grimsby public roads…I would encourage you, your staff and customers to use these areas,” replied Andy Sinclair, president of the condo board, suggesting Turcic work through her lawyer.
“As I said, deal directly with the Property Management firm not through broadcast e-mails. No one from the NNCECC270 Board will be responding to your e-mails in the future.”
There is clear recognition now that this is a serious problem now, with magnification of those issues coming in the very near future.
“A plan and improved process must be put into place now, so that when the population in our immediate area doubles in the next few years we are prepared as best as possible given the building plans that have been approved,” said Len LaRose, co-owner of The Olive Board.
“Being able to contact bylaw to address an issue 24/7 should be possible. Even during regular office hours you would simply get voicemail when calling.”