By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Concerns over parking at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre (CCC) have prompted the Town of Morinville and Morinville Community High School (MCHS) to re-examine parking at the two facilities.
Morinville’s new Director of Community Services, Kerry Dawson, made a presentation to Council Mar. 13 indicating parking allocation and emergency vehicle access at the two facilities has been a concern since the CCC opened last July.
The parking concerns came to the new director’s attention over the past few weeks, particularly during the Sturgeon County Mayor’s Breakfast, which saw a lot of vehicles lining both sides of the CCC / MCHS entrance laneway.
“It was a mess outside,” Dawson told Council. “If we had a fire, vehicles could not get anywhere near the facility.”
The situation has resulted in Dawson and MCHS Principal Todd Eistetter having a discussion about what to do regarding joint parking. Town Administration will be working with Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division, the fire marshal, and Enforcement Services to develop a plan that will appropriately allocate and identify parking for both facilities. A key component of the plan will be to ensure emergency vehicles have access at all times.
Dawson explained the fix will come in two phases: identifying appropriate signage, something to be completed as soon as agreements are ironed out between the CCC and MCHS, and upgrades to the parking lot, something scheduled to be completed as early as this spring.
Phase one will see the installation of parking signs around the loop immediately in front of MCHS. Currently, vehicles can be found parking all around the loop as well as on both sides of the entrance and exit laneways, particularly during school and centre events. Additionally, drop off signs will be positioned directly in front of the high school. The signs will allow Enforcement Services to deal with problem parkers. “We can’t enforce that kind of restriction without signage,” Dawson said.
Handicap parking has also been identified as a problem. Presently, handicap parking is located across the two laneways, approximately 100 feet from the facility. The plan is to move the three spots immediately north of the CCC’s front loading zone to allow shorter travel distance.
Parking signs identifying substitute teacher and visitor parking, presently located in the CCC parking area immediately adjacent Highway 642, will be removed.
Upgrades to the parking lot, scheduled to begin this spring, will see a new entrance into the CCC parking lot. Additionally, better designation between the north high school and south cultural centre parking lots will be created as well as clearer access routes and limitations in access between the two lots.
Dawson said the parking plan is truly a joint project between the Town of Morinville and GSACRD. The school division will pick up the tab for signage; the town will assume the costs of removing the old signs and installing the new ones.