Message clear: expand the lot, save the trees

MORRISBURG – With an expansion of the South Dundas Municipal Centre Parking lot slated for this year, municipal staff will be meeting with contractors in the near future to firm up plans as the project is likely to start next month.

While the previous council had already approved a major expansion of the parking lot, the present council questioned whether or not such a significant increase in size is necessary.

At the March 19 meeting staff and council talked about a proposal brought forward by staff that would increase parking in the front lot and the staff lot just to meet current needs at peak times.

Upon closer examination of the plan it was determined that a scaled back expansion is likely to cost about the same as the original $90,000 full scale expansion plan. The proposal presented by staff at the March 19 meeting would only mean a net gain of a handful of spaces.

“If we’re only gaining a few spaces then why bother?” asked South Dundas councillor Archie Mellan.

South Dundas chief administrative officer Shannon Geraghty said that the scaled back plan is aimed at maintaining more of the green-space than the original concept.

“With this proposal we are not gaining enough,” said South Dundas mayor Steven Byvelds. “If we only add a few spaces, we’ll end up looking like fools a few years from now.”

South Dundas deputy mayor Kirsten Gardner suggested that they should look at focusing on building a proper parking lot on the old hydro building property, which could help alleviate parking issues at the Morrisburg arena, make for safer pick up and drop offs at Morrisburg Public School and handle any overflow from the South Dundas Municipal Centre.

Director of recreation and facilities Ben Macpherson suggested that off-site parking for the seniors and Early Years clientele who are making use of the parking lot on the busiest day of the week, which is Tuesday, would not be ideal.

Council asked staff to meet with the contractors and come back with a plan that will ensure that the trees at the South Dundas Municipal Centre Building are preserved. “Those trees can’t die,” said Byvelds.

Director of transportation Jeff Hyndman was confident that they could come up with a plan to work around and preserve the trees.

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