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January 23, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Delay the proposed parking lot at the intersection of Grey Road 13 and Grey Road 30

Proposed parking lot on GR30 context

LETTER TO THE EDITOR — As more details of this Grey County project are revealed, the more I feel it necessary to offer a carefully thought out response. In this writer’s opinion, this concept is inherently flawed and needs to be reconsidered. Yes, the planners at Grey County did try to do two things in their approach that are quite constructive. They proposed using land already owned by Grey County, thereby avoiding the costs and complications of dealing with third party landowners. They also are trying to save money by quickly playing catch up, so they can align their parking lot construction with a previously planned capital project — the 2024 repaving of sections of Grey Road 30. Both are smart approaches — if the broader concept was more workable. It is not. Time is of the essence. Grey County’s capital project on GR30 will begin later this year. There is an immediate need to delay the project for one year to allow for delay the project for one year to allow for deep community consultations and proper studies to be completed leading to the creation of a much more workable parking solution.

Creating such a parking solution will require…

1. The creation of a hierarchy of needs. Currently, there is no proper definition of the parking need which must define / illuminate…

    • whether a new parking lot is actually needed, and if so, how big?
    • the exact trailhead locations to be served – there are multiple trail access points, not all equally workable or used by the public
    • the best location of a parking lot once the needful trailheads have been identified and understood
    • the legal requirements of a parking lot so that all liability issues are clearly understood at the outset so inappropriate concepts are quickly removed from consideration
    • the best understanding of the needs of the pedestrians using the parking lot
    • the needs of drivers using Grey Roads 13 and 30
    • the best understanding of proper traffic safety from the OPP’s point of view
    • the best understanding of winter maintenance (Kimberley Forest esp. is a four season facility)
    • the impact of winter on pedestrian safety if walking on any roadside, paved or otherwise
    • alignment with current capital projects such as the paving of GR30 for maximum financial efficiency
    • the potential for compliance with AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)

    Once all of these needs have been clearly stated and understood they must be listed in a hierarchy so that each issue or perspective is accounted for in its respective importance to the overall project. This is critical. It is only by creating this hierarchical list of needs that a common, shared set of metrics can be created and then applied to every potential solution. It is essential that everyone – community members, council members, and government staff – all use the same set of metrics when evaluating any possible parking solution. Personal points of view will only cloud the issue. Once established, this list of needs, in order of their importance, becomes the ground rules by which all ideas are judged.

      2. Community consultation is required and, contrary to the beliefs of some, can actually be very helpful. Yes, there need to be ground rules by which this takes place, for the sanity of all concerned. On the plus side of the equation – there are many experienced designers and planners in our communities who would be happy to bring their skills and experience to the table in the pursuit of a strong workable solution to this parking need. Grey Highlands and Grey County staff are currently stretched. Community resources could help offset some of that burden in a constructive way that deepens the community connection while productively assisting staff and creating a strong, workable solution.

      3. The final solution(s) of course, needs to be reviewed by the appropriate staff to confirm that all legal responsibilities have been successfully addressed as well as all financial and other requirements.

      4. The solution is built and enjoyed by all.

      Grey County is growing in every way. Development can be accomplished so that as many as possible feel heard and their needs acknowledged and addressed. My suggestion of delaying this important project is an attempt to do exactly that.

      Visit the online document to view the entire response paper.

      Peter French
      Kimberley, Ontario

       


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