As tourist season rolls on, Harrison Hot Springs officials are working to respond to parking concerns.
During a special meeting on July 27, the Village Council voted 4-1 (Coun. Ray Hooper opposing) to award a $30,000 contract to IBI Group to develop a parking master plan.
Back in early June, the village put out a request for proposal to develop a parking master plan. Five proposals were received, which were then narrowed down to two – IBI Group and Urban Systems.
The plan would be funded through pay parking revenue and is designed to factor in projected growth and tourism for the future. The IBI group proposal is only slightly higher than the Urban Systems, and the majority of council chose it due to its methods of public engagement. This includes a virtual information centre, online survey and stakeholder meeting along with a second online meeting for the general public.
Hooper voiced numerous frustrations with the proposal. He said not only was pedestrian safety a concern, particularly on streets with no sidewalks, but felt the parking plan, active transportation and any traffic management or calming plans should all be handled simultaneously.
“We are going and over things,” Hooper said. “We’re doing one thing, we’re scrapping it, we’re doing something else. We just need to get all this together as one item.”
Though Coun. Gerry Palmer voted in favour of the proposal, he said he agreed with Hooper that the village was lagging on active transportation opportunities.
“Harrison is getting busier. I don’t anticipate in years to come that it’s going to get any less,” Mayor Leo Facio added. “This is a start. What comes out of this, we’ll wait and see. There will be further discussion to deal with this. It’s not signed over.”
IBI specializes in a variety of urban planning aspects, including parking, roads, parks and transit stations. Though headquartered in Toronto, they have a few locations in B.C., including in Kelowna, Burnaby and Vancouver.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for Sept.7 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Hall. The meeting will still be broadcast over Zoom and be available on YouTube in the days following the meeting.