Wintertime parking woes in Parry Sound
Overnight means out of town for parking
PARRY SOUND - If you live in downtown Parry Sound a big driveway is a serious asset.
Judith Brann, left, and her mother Margaret Drake, take issue with the lack of winter parking for Parry Sound residents who have no room in their driveway for additional vehicles.
Roland Cilliers/Beacon Star
That’s because parking just about anywhere overnight in the downtown area is likely to net a $50 fine from the bylaw department. The inability for downtown residents to park overnight anywhere has created a significant issue for residents having to accommodate out-of-town visitors.
As a result of a presently difficult housing situation, Judith Brann has had to move into her mother’s Parry Sound house. Located directly in front of the Bobby Orr Community Centre (BOCC), the driveway at the residence is far too small to accommodate both women’s vehicles.
“My van is not Santa’s sleigh with eight reindeer. I cannot park on the roof of my mom’s house. I need somewhere to put it and now I have nowhere to leave it,” said Brann.
The problem has caused Brann, 65, and her mother, Margaret Drake, 90, a large amount of anxiety and frustration. Brann, whose husband recently died, was surprised to find she had been issued a $50 ticket one morning at a parking spot in the BOCC lot that is directly beside her mother’s home.
When they spoke with municipal officials about the ticket, they were told snow plows needed to have the area clear so they could do their work. They were also advised of two potential ways to deal with the parking problem.
One option was to contact nearby businesses to see if a vehicle could be parked in their lot overnight. The second option was to use the spots located near the tennis courts of the BOCC. Those spots are specially designated by the town for temporary overnight use.
Tammy Purdy, bylaw officer for the Town of Parry Sound, said those spots are not designed to be used by downtown residents.
“If someone is drinking, we do offer parking spaces at the Bobby Orr Community Centre by the tennis courts that we designate. If you know your going to be drinking you can park there and then frequent the bars downtown,” Purdy said.
“It’s temporary parking though. Our priority is the safety of the community. We have to have that snow cleared,” said Purdy.
Brann made use of the spots by the tennis courts for a short while, before being made aware that she was going to have to move her car or else face an additional ticket.
“Anybody who has a home or an apartment they have to supply their own parking because of snow removal. Between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. there’s no parking permitted at all,” Purdy said.
When Brann found out the tennis court spots weren’t a viable area she also found out that her vehicle had been placed on a list and that she could expect a ticket if she kept her van there in the future. Those spots are only for occasional parkers who are leaving there vehicles there to avoid driving impaired.
“The thing that irks me is they can come over here, get good and drunk and leave their cars over night. I’m sober, in a legal parking space, and I cant stay there,” said Brann.
To remedy the problem, the pair has enlisted the help of a friend who is now allowing one of their cars to be parked in their driveway through the winter. The solution really doesn’t address the bigger problem though. Brann sees the potential for the problem to become very expensive if major family events were to occur to someone living in Parry Sound.
“I said to mom, ‘don’t plan to die before the spring’ because my brother has a car, my sister has a car, they’re all out of town and if you come here you cannot stay at the house even if we had enough bedrooms to put everybody,” Brann said. “They couldn’t stay here because there’s no place to park, which means they then have to pay for a hotel or motel to get a place to park.”
For Brann and her mother, the problem shouldn’t be that difficult to solve. They feel there are a few moves the municipality could make that would not interfere with plowing.
One possible solution would be a specially designated lot in town designated for long-term parking. Another option, Brann suggested, is the sale of a parking pass that would allow long-term parkers to make use of the BOCC tennis court spots.
Drake suggested a solution where they designate specific times for the plowing of the BOCC lot.
“Why don’t they have certain hours where they plow one half of the arena and then you move your car over and do the other half?” asked Drake.
Regardless of what happens in the future with long-term parking in Parry Sound, for Drake and Brann the problem has already caused serious anxiety.
“I’m 90 and I spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital with pneumonia. I’m just getting over that. Whatever happened to compassion? For two months we’ve been through this,” said Drake.