Parking changes considered near seniors complex
Okotoks: Town and Tudor Manor management to discuss concerns
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 06:00 am
Parking restrictions could be implemented on Sandstone Drive near Tudor Manor after Okotoks officials and area residents expressed concerns about staff and visitors to the centre taking up space on nearby roads.
The Town of Okotoks is looking at the possibility of implementing a permit-parking zone near the northwest Okotoks seniors facility.
Residents have expressed a number of concerns, including safety and an the number of vehicles parking on the road in front of homes in the neighbourhood.
Area resident Wayne Wilson said staff and visitors at Tudor Manor could monopolize the street without parking rules.
“I don’t think they should be parking there,” he said.
Town council is considering implementing a permit-only parking zone on one side of Sandstone Drive opposite Tudor Manor. Owners and residents of homes along the road would then be able purchase a maximum of two parking permits from the Town for $4 each and $25 for a replacement pass. Town officials will meet with management at the facility to try to resolve the problem.
Tudor Manor, which is owned and operated by the Brenda Strafford Foundation, opened its doors and started accepting its first residents in late 2012. The facility has 152 supportive living beds, including a 26 unit secured dementia wing. As well, the facility typically doesn’t have more than 50 employees on shift at a single time. There are 30 parking stalls in a lot behind the building, 78 in an underground parkade and seven visitor stalls in front of the building. There is no charge to use the surface parking lot, but the centre charges to park underground.
Norma Jackson, the foundation’s interim executive director, she said she understands resident’s concerns and the foundation doesn’t want to inconvenience them.
“We certainly appreciate it and we don’t want to be interfering with the residents’ ability to enjoy their space,” she said.
Jackson said they have designated 20 stalls underground to accommodate employees on an interim basis. However, she would not say whether the stalls are being made available free of charge or if the employees will have to pay for them.
“We’re making sure they’re not parking on the street,” she said.
According to Jackson, facility staff will monitor the situation over the coming weeks and they will be able to fit more vehicles on the surface lot once some dirt left over from construction is removed.
Area resident Paul White said it’s not as bad as when the facility was under construction, but it’s still a problem occasionally. He can see it being an issue when a number of visitors to the facility are there at once.
“When those of us [residents] who have people coming to visit, where do our friends and family park,” said White, who lives across the street from the centre.
He said any spots freed up at the facility for parking should be free, or else staff will probably chose to park on the street rather than pay.
Area resident Al Hagan said he would support establishing a permit-parking zone in front of houses in the area.
He said officials at the facility assured residents there would be enough room for people to park on site and residents would not be impacted.
“When it was approved it was suggested that there was more than enough parking to accommodate the need,” he said.
He said visibility can be limited, creating safety problems, if there are lots of cars parked on the road.
Hagan said he sympathizes with employees at the facility who need to be able to park somewhere, but there shouldn’t much of a problem if the centre can find room for them on site.
Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson wants to see if the Town can find a way to resolve the situation.
“We should wait for a period of time to see if, after a meeting, the problems could be sorted out,” he said.
If staff has to pay to park, Robertson said they may be more likely to park on the street in front of homes in the area.
Tim Stobbs, Okotoks Municipal Enforcement (OME) team leader, said he wants Tudor Manor to ensure its employees are parking on-site, not on the street.
“Our concern is to try to get Tudor Manor to provide as much off-street parking as they can so that they don’t impinge upon residents’ ability to park on the road in front of their house if they have guests or something like that,” he said.
Stobbs said they are monitoring the situation, but it’s difficult to say precisely if people parking in front of the houses are going to Tudor Manor or homes in the area.
OME officers have observed anywhere from 13 to 18 vehicles a day parked on the street in front of Tudor Manor, he said.