Paid parking meters have made their way into Grandin Park Plaza, stirring concerns that people may park in residential areas to skip paying the parking toll.
Mayor Nolan Crouse says he’s disappointed that Amacon, the developer that owns most of the lot, has decided to implement paid parking.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s very community-friendly, on the other hand it’s private property,” he says. “There’s no question that the neighbours are going to feel the pinch because people are going to go where they can park for free.”
He adds that the paid parking lot will take away from the small community feel St. Albert is known for.
Amacon did not respond to the Gazette by press time.
One local, who asked to remain anonymous, has been living in Grandin Parc Residences since April. The condo complex is part of Grandin Parc Village, which is connected to Grandin Park Plaza.
She says since moving into the area, parking has been an ongoing issue. While her parking is underground, during Saturday’s farmers’ market and Rockin’ August she found cars parked in guest parking spots and along St. Louis Street.
With the new paid parking toll, she fears it’ll only get worse.
“If other people didn’t park here, we would have enough room. But when you get all the other residents that come to do stuff downtown, that crowds us out. There’s so little parking downtown.”
The resident says a liquor store is being developed that only has about eight spots. She says she worries that lack of parking and the paid parking requirements will only make a heavy burden on the residents in the area.
Amacon has been developing the area since 2015. The development is located on Sir Winston Churchill, where the old Grandin mall was previously.
In 2016 the developer’s request for a 10-percent reduction in the number of required visitor and commercial stalls was approved, which removed more than 130 parking stalls.
According to the concept map, there are more than 800 commercial parking stalls in the plaza.
On the Grandin Parc Village website, resident parking is located underground. The website didn’t say how many stalls are located underground, or how many stalls each resident is assigned.
Grandin Parc Residences is located in the southwest corner of the 10-acre site, backing on to Grenadier Park. It has 91 units and currently has around 30 filled. Each home is selling at a price from $199,900.
The plaza is being monitored by Westpark Parking Services. This is the first Westpark location in the capital region and was set up last week. In Alberta there are two lots in Red Deer and more than 30 in Calgary.
Rates for the plaza lot are Monday to Friday $1 from 6 p.m. to midnight, $2 from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday $3 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., $1 from 6 p.m. to midnight and $2 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
It’s free to park in the lot Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For those who want to pay monthly, rates are $30 plus tax for non-reserved spots. Those who want to reserve their space can pay $45 plus tax.
Westpark Parking Services joins three other private properties with paid parking lots in St. Albert.
The parking lot between Songkran Thai restaurant and behind the Art Gallery Bar is being monitored by Impark Parking Services.
Impark charges $2 per hour and $2 for the evening from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to their website.
Diamond Parking Services is the other paid parking authority, charging people a rate to park their vehicles at the St. Albert Inn before jumping on the bus.
The service is accessed by a phone app, where people sign up and pay for their parking by phone. Daily rates are $4.
Sturgeon Community Hospital charges a daily rate of $5 for parking.
According to the city, there are 51 public parking lots in St. Albert. The only paid parking sites are located on private property.