Parking on Hwy. 16, between Home Hardware and RBC Royal Bank, has become a growing concern among some business owners in Burns Lake.
A few weeks ago, Burns Lake resident Tammy Downton wrote a ‘letter to the editor’ saying many staff members that work in businesses on Hwy. 16 are parking along the highway in front of other businesses.
“I feel it’s important to keep these spaces open for customers and clientele,” she said. “The close parking should be their convenience, not ours, as most of us are parked for the whole day.”
“There is the large parking lot across the street with ample parking,” she continued. “Let’s work together as a downtown core; take those few extra steps to work in the morning and save the front row parking for those who are making our downtown grow.”
Burns Lake councillor Kelly Holliday, owner of Aksenz Studios – which has now moved to Hwy. 16 -, agrees that parking on Hwy. 16 has become an issue. According to her, it makes a big difference for businesses to have available parking spaces in front of their stores.
“I really believe the impulse buyer that might be travelling through will see your store front window or your service window, and if there’s an available parking space in front, they will make the decision to pull in, stop, come in and probably buy,” she said. “If someone is parked in front of your window for eight hours a day, no one can see it when they are driving by.”
Holliday said she understands that businesses sometimes need to bring products into their stores. In that case, she recommends staff to unload products and immediately move their vehicles to the parking lot across the street.
Holliday said she has been parking her own vehicle on First Avenue.
“I would like to think that the common sense of the professional and business person and employee in Burns Lake would make them not park in front of the retail and service businesses on Hwy. 16,” she added.
According to a by-law that regulates and control traffic within the village’s boundaries (by-law no. 483), people that choose to park their vehicles for eight hours during the workday are technically not doing anything wrong.
The current by-law specifies that parking cannot exceed 24 hours. However, Holliday said she has requested that the by-law to be brought to a council meeting so that it can be reviewed.
“We absolutely need to revitalize the by-law,” she said.