Four North Grenville Council meetings have taken place since the last update – one regular meeting and three (mostly) closed session meetings. The first closed session meeting, on October 17, was listed on the agenda as relating to “advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose.” The second closed session meeting took place at Catered Affairs on October 20, for the purpose of “educating or training members of the council or local board or committee – specifically council strategic training.” Another meeting for that same purpose took place again at Catered Affairs on October 23.
The October 20 meeting did deal with an item of open session business as well – the appointment of Karen Dunlop as Acting Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer.
The regular Tuesday meeting last week took place on October 17, following the first closed session. This meeting focused heavily on the release of a parking study report, based on a study completed in the summer to survey the parking needs of Kemptville’s downtown.
Jordan Papazoglou from WSP Canada, an engineering consulting firm, provided the report. He explained that as part of the policy review which compared North Grenville to other area municipalities, the study found that these other locales all had parking available for their downtown businesses. North Grenville does as well – the inventory found that there were over 800 parking spaces available, mostly privately owned, with another 100 spaces available on the street.
The study found that there was a “decent amount of capacity” for parking even during peak periods. One observation made is that many people were found to be parking in the library parking lot to visit businesses on Prescott Street. The Municipality owns the library lot, but a recommendation was made to designate a number of spaces specifically for library use.
Other recommendations included the addition of accessible or age-friendly parking spaces, commercial loading zones on Prescott Street, reallocating needlessly reserved parking spaces on Clothier Street, developing a communications plan, allowing a limited amount of overnight winter parking, making active transportation improvements, and having a monitoring plan so that the information can be reviewed and updated at regular intervals. When it comes to accessible vs. age-friendly spaces, a preference was stated for accessible spaces because these are more specific to those who need them.
A significant amount of back and forth discussion between Papazoglou and members of Council ensued, as different perspectives were presented and options explored. Mayor Peckford asked at one point about the possibility of opening up Riverside Park as an overnight parking lot (it currently has an 11pm cut off), but Papazoglou cautioned that it may encourage residents in new developments to get a car in a process he called “induced demand”. Following a short break, Council decided how to proceed with the information from the parking study. Mayor Peckford asked that the motion be adjusted to direct municipal staff to come up with a prioritized list of recommendations to help Council decide which to implement first. This motion was passed.
The full Council meeting is available for viewing on YouTube. The discussion was far too in-depth to summarize in a single article, so readers are encouraged to view it themselves at https://www.youtube.com/live/0lfBMq-SqGY?si=RUKNamV9NyYdXotq.
Following a short break, Council decided how to proceed with the information from the parking study. Mayor Peckford asked that the motion be adjusted to direct municipal staff to come up with a prioritized list of recommendations to help Council decide which to implement first. This motion was passed.
On demand transit system will launch in 2024
An exciting item of business that took centre stage after the parking study discussion was the approval of the tender for the Municipality’s new on demand transit system that will be launched in early 2024. The transit system will operate on demand, Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm. It will feature a modern booking system, with same day bookings at virtual stops, and pre-scheduled door-to-door bookings for those requiring accessibility under AODA guidelines.
There were no further Council meetings listed on the October calendar as of the time of writing, but the Municipality updates the schedule routinely.