Solutions sought for busy NDCC parking lot

Having trouble finding a spot at the lot? You're not alone.

Having trouble finding a spot at the NDCC parking lot? You're not alone.

Parking is so bad at the rec centre even the person in charge of the building can’t find a spot.

Marty Benson, the manager of the Nelson and District Community Complex, wants users to know addressing the lack of parking at the centre will be a priority for staff in 2017.

“I don’t think there is an easy solution,” said Benson.

“If there was a easy solution it would have been implemented years ago. I think it’s important that people do recognize that we need to figure out something that will work, not just for today but over the long term as well.”

A busy parking lot isn’t a new problem for the NDCC, which opened in 2005. But Benson said since the pool was re-opened in October, the issue has been highlighted.

“The actual parking challenges have been going on for many, many years,” said Benson.

“So we’ve tried programs to inform people using the lot that it’s intended for patrons of the complex. That’s worked with limited success. So it’s not a new project.”

Right now, Benson just wants to remind people not to park in the lot unless they are using the NDCC.

Staff have witnessed drivers who use the free space for trips downtown, and it’s a constant complaint from users searching in vain for a stall, Mondays to Fridays during the daytime being the hours of most concern.

Changing a bus route that would drop users off at the NDCC entrance also isn’t an option.

Currently a bus stop exists on Hall Street near the entrance to the parking lot, but the walk up a small slope and to the NDCC could be difficult for anyone with mobility issues.

Gerry Tennant, the city’s transit leadhand, said BC Transit discourages routes that lead into parking lots.

“Our buses, they probably could get in there, but over the winter it would be sort of a sketchy situation.

“We try and stay out of parking lots as much as we can. … It is a safety issue. With people backing up and pedestrians, it’s a recipe for disaster,” said Tennant, who added the city’s transit staff would still be open to other ideas.

Benson said he isn’t sure yet what might change, but that staff are researching possibilities. He also didn’t rule out a scenario that included a parking fee.

“Going to a paid parking structure may be an option. It would also have a negative impact on the legitimate users of our facility,” he said.

“So any type of new system that would implemented, there needs to be careful consideration so that we don’t prevent people from using the facility.

“We want people there.”

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