Parking Lot Woes

Mayor discusses how to improve parking at Bonnyville Hospital.

Bonnyville Mayor discussed, with Town Council and Administration, what could be done about the parking situation at the Bonnyville Hospital at Tuesday’s Council Meeting. The general layout of the north parking lot has a lot of unused space, with it built on an incline and curve it; as well, the south parking lot is often overflowing with parking stretching onto the street across from Jesse Lake.

Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, says the topic was recently addressed at a Doctor’s Retention Meeting he attended, “one of the major complaints that we get is parking.” On the positive side, Mayor Sobolewski says it displays that the hospital’s added services are being well-utilized; however it’s a problem he’s eager to get fixed.

“The Town has offered for our engineers to do a desktop analysis, as to how can we increase the density with the available land that we have there? Essentially, we’re going to get our engineers to do an analysis with an estimate and then we’re going to go to Covenant Health and see if we can get something done with it,” the mayor says the Town is ready to put their own resources into moving this project along.

Mayor Sobolewski says the goal is to get the parking lot re-configured, without an end cost to the visitors of the hospital, “one of the things [Covenant Health] keeps going back to is to try to make it self-sustaining – to pay for parking. That is not going to happen.” Sobolewski, with Council agreeing, says in a small community pay-to-parks just do not work, “nobody in Bonnyville is going to pay for parking.”

“What we may have to do is to see if there’s an opportunity for the Town and the MD (Municipal District of Bonnyville) to share in some of the costs,” the Mayor says he is not proposing that the Town or the MD (whether jointly or separately) pay for the parking lot improvements. Rather he’s suggesting there may be opportunities to assist in some of the costs to move the project along in a more timely fashion.

Another suggestion the Mayor brought up is perhaps the Town and MD could pay to maintain the lot, if Covenant Health would pay for the capital costs of the construction.

The project is in the conceptual stages, the Mayor will have a better idea of how to move forward after the Town’s engineers have a chance to assess the parking lot and return a desktop analysis with an estimate on costs.