The ‘no parking’ signs along 8th Avenue West will be coming out – or, at least some of them will be.

During Monday’s (May 8) meeting of Meadow Lake city council, a decision was made on the long-standing issue of parking restrictions along 8th Avenue West near the Meadow Lake Hospital. Councillor Marty Bishop brought forward a motion directing administration to research available options, develop and implement the amendments necessary to the city’s bylaws, policies and procedures to create a ‘priority snow removal route’ parking restriction along 8th Avenue West on both the north and south sides between 3rd Street West and Centre Street. The motion also called for the existing ‘no parking anytime’ restriction in place in front of the hospital property on the north side of 8th Avenue remain in place. The motion was seconded by councillor Clay DeBray.

“The way I read this is there will be no parking on 8th Avenue from Centre Street to the alleyway along the hospital property,” Bishop said. “There will be no parking anytime from Centre Street to the alley on the border of the hospital property, but parking is available any time on the rest of the avenue right down to 3rd Street.”

This was confirmed by city manager Diana Burton who said the only ‘no parking’ restriction at any point that will remain in place is directly on the property line of the hospital – the north side of the avenue.

“The other step is it gives administration direction to create what hasn’t been done yet, which is the priority snow removal route for those sections where parking will now be allowed,” Burton noted. “The south side of the avenue will allow parking, and the remainder of the avenue west of the hospital property will allow parking except when we create a priority snow removal route for wintertime that will say vehicles must be removed here, here and here when there is a snow event. We still need the ability for the grader to get down there during a snow event, while ambulances need to have clear access to and from the hospital. We can’t have that whole street filled up. We’ve also run this recommendation by the ambulance staff and the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and they say this will work for them for access to and from where they drive the ambulance up to the emergency room. They have no issues with this recommendation.”

Councillor Tom Harrison, meanwhile, said the recommendation reflects simple common sense. Burton agreed.

“Hopefully it alleviates concerns from area residents, none of whom responded to the surveys sent out to them by the way, while still allowing emergency services the access to the hospital they need without making the whole area ‘no parking,’” she said. “It will be a learning curve for residents in the area perhaps, but it will allow them to park on that street for most of the year and also allow hospital staff to park along the south side of the avenue because that was another concern – the lack of available parking at the hospital.”

Last year, a resolution was passed by city council requesting a review of the ‘no parking at anytime’ restriction on the north side of 8th Avenue West from 3rd Street West to Centre Street. A 2016 traffic bylaw amendment created a ‘no parking at anytime’ zone along 8th Avenue West. However, this wasn’t enforced as the ‘no parking’ signs didn’t go up until 2022 – six years later. The question was asked whether the amendment was still relevant.

Mayor Merlin Seymour, meanwhile, wondered why the entire avenue couldn’t simply remain a ‘no parking’ zone.

“There were concerns noted by the hospital staff about the lack of available parking on the hospital yard,” Burton reiterated. “We have tried to find a compromise to appease all sides.”

The motion brought forward by Bishop was ultimately approved. Seymour, however, did not vote in its favour.

by Phil Ambroziak