The issue of changing parking in downtown Drumheller just doesn’t seem to want to go away as a group of concerned business people are taking their fight to politicians, through the residents of Drumheller.
A group of downtown business owners, fed up with the decision by council to remove angle parking from the downtown core are asking residents to speak out on how they feel about the changes. Originally spearheaded by five businesses, now a whole contingent has taken out a full page advertisement in The Drumheller Mail to ask residents their opinions on the changes to the parking in the area.
“The overwhelming majority of businesses have let the mayor and council know our strong objection to returning to the old style of parallel parking they insist on implementing 3rd Avenue this coming Spring 2010,” reads the advertisement.
“We want to let the elected offices know the wishes of the public with regard to changing the format of parking downtown.”
Dave Powell of Sports Room Source for Sports is firmly against the new parking plan to bring parallel parking to the downtown core. He says the only business that would benefit is Wal-Mart. The changes will simply lead to a lack of access to downtown Drumheller businesses and a headache.
Council approved the change to happen before the Victoria Day Weekend at the regular council meeting on November 9. These changes would include changing the parking layout along 3rd Avenue to parallel parking. Additionally, the town has created two parking lots. Powell disagrees the parking will help and it will in turn send customers to their back doors. Many will opt to keep circling the block looking for parking, and the issue of a driver’s ability to navigate into a parallel spots may also cause congestion.
Doug Wade of Wade’s Jewellery is also opposed to the changes.
“I don’t want parallel parking,” said Doug wade. “We are going to lose 60 per cent of our parking. We are going to go from 11 stalls to three and that concerns me.”
He says while there were meetings earlier in the year, when the decision came on November 9, it left them surprised.
“We had no idea they were going to vote on it. We had no discussions on it. We discussed it last spring with them, and they told us we would have another meeting before they did anything,” he said.
Wade said following a poster campaign by downtown merchants concerned about the changes, council revisited the decision, but said they were going to continue with it.
“That makes us mad,” he said. “We’re not playing around, I’m tired of this.”
“In downtown, all the shopkeepers can’t believe how many times they have been told by their customers if they put parallel parking in, they are not coming down. It’s a different scenario than 30 years ago when we didn’t have a Wal-mart or Extra Foods. We have to fight for our customers.”
The idea to place the ad in The Mail only began coming together last Thursday, and he said the support from business owners has been strong. He says it is one thing for people to pay lip service to a cause, but another to put money behind their words.
“It is nice to see businesses putting in the extra effort to support customers to give them the best experience ever,” he said.
He said this summer there were no changes to the parking situation during the construction of the bridge and after, and he did not see the traffic snarls predicted.
“We managed to get through the summer uneventfully,” he said.
The group is planning to take the results of their campaign to town council on February 16.