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City council relaxes downtown and Lakshore parking requirements for businesses

The map of downtown Cold Lake where parking requirements have been lessened by city council in a new bylaw after meetings with the business community.

Cold Lake’s downtown and Lakeshore business communities will see their parking requirements relaxed by the city.

City council passed a new bylaw to establish parking overlays, which will not require small to mid-sized businesses to provide parking downtown and in the Lakeshore commercial areas.

The idea behind the bylaw was to make it easier for new businesses to come into these areas, while also making it easier for owners to sell their business.

“There was concern from council and the business community when it comes to say, trying to sell your business or redevelop your building,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.

“The parking bylaw does impede the current bylaw, so what we’re going to do is going to have a little more relaxed parking bylaw downtown and in the north and in the south, so that your business – I kind of call it like festival parking – you’re going to be able to park anywhere.”

The overlays eliminate the requirement for small-to-medium sized businesses to provide on-site parking downtown and in certain areas of Lakeshore.

Larger-scale businesses or specific uses would still be required to provide parking.

“For the customer, you might have to walk a little bit further. We can go to Whyte Avenue and have no problem walking several blocks to where you want to be in Edmonton, but we’ve had some parking issues with some of the applications over the past several years,” said Copeland.

“With this new parking bylaw, we just want to have it more relaxed and see how it works and then take it from there.”

No one spoke at the public hearing last Tuesday at city council before they gave second and third reading to the new bylaw.

The downtown overlay would extend along Highway 28, as far north as 51 Ave. and as far east as 49 St.

The Lakeshore overlay would go along Lakeshore Drive as far as south as 8 Ave. and as far west as 12 St.

The overlay boundaries were drawn in these areas because the zoning turns from commercial to residential areas.

Bingos, casinos, large-scale restaurants with over 150 seats, hotels and motels, recreation spaces over 5000 square feet, churches and shopping centres are excluded from the relaxing in parking.

“If you do a restaurant that’s going to have seating for over 150 tables, or a hotel, or a big movie theatre, then you would come and work with staff on how many parking stalls you gotta come with,” said Copeland.

“We want to make sure that if anyone needs to sell their business, it’s much easier for someone to purchase buildings downtown and do their own application.”

An open house was held in February to gather feedback from the downtown business community regarding parking.