Community Cultural Centre parking to be reconsidered

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Parking at the Morinville Community High School and Morinville Community Cultural Centre has become a problem during peak hours, particularly with respect to vehicles parking on both sides of the laneways. Both school and centre are concerned with emergency vehicle access. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

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.

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12 Comments

  1. Well, well parking is a problem at the MCCC. Back when I sat in on the Sub Division Development Board’s issuance of the building permit for this facility, then Councillor Joe Gosselin brought up the concern that parking spaces seemed to be at a bare minimum for this joint facility, but after a short discussion, they quickly dismissed it, figuring the big event draws for the MCCC wouldn’t be happening during school hours and that the central location of this facility would allow people to walk as opposed to drive. Also sitting on this Board is now Councillor Dave Pattison, so really the Town can’t say that this is news to them. But like the other issues at the MCCC, the proper studies were never carried out prior to the development and are now costing you the tax payers.

    So here we go with “upgrades to the parking lot” which really means here we go with spending more tax dollars on this facility to help rectify the lack of planning that went on during its development.

    But what I find really amusing is this. “This is truly a joint project between the Town of Morinville and the GSACRD” as the GSACRD will supply the signage and the Town will look after replacing the signs…. Really? The tax dollars meant for education and school upkeep will go to buying expensive signage while the Town pays a guy with a ratchet for a couple of hours for removing and installing the new signs? Especially when the Town knew in the development stages that this was more than likely going to be an issue. I wonder if the true cost of this endeavor will ever be disclosed to the public.

    As I write this I took a look out my window, as the Education Minister just happens to be at the MCCC tonight. The parking lot is max’d out, people are leaving because there is no parking left. One car even chose to park on top of the lawn.

    Luckily the school doesn’t have anything major planned tonight. So really I don’t think signage is going to be the answer, better hope you have room for expansion $$.

  2. Minor error on my part and I stand corrected. Then its a good thing the MCCC didn’t have anything major on the go. The rest still fits.

    • Had tonight’s concert at the CCC been last night there would clearly have been a major parking problem. I walked last night to cover the story as I knew parking would be problematic as it is not every day you get 800 people out in the community.

  3. Tim, you have been so against the MCCC since the inception of the idea that your credibility on this issue must be called into question. No matter what happens you have something negative to say about it. Sorry but I am one person who puts no weight to anything you say in regards to this matter simply because it’s all doom and gloom with you and I don’t buy it.

  4. Tim, why don’t you offer up your driveway for rent during events? Maybe a little cash flow will help alleviate all your suffering from having to live near the MCCC. Or, rather than the town pay “a guy with a ratchet” for a few hours, why don’t you volunteer to do it yourself? It would be more effective then just whining about the MCCC. It’s there. It’s staying. Learn to deal with it.

  5. To Christian: Yes I have been against the MCCC from the inception because it was a bad planing from the start. And on a regular basis I get remined of just how careless the placement of this facility was. Now you say I have no crediability on this, so please, tell me where I’ve made error in any of the facts I have ever layed out on this issue. If you can. But thanks for your input, regardless of it having nothing to do with the topic of parking.

    Melissa: Nice idea but my driveway faces the wrong direction and I would have to apply for a buisness permit… Now I have and I am continuing to work with the MCCC and Town to reduce and hopefully elimante the need to seek compensation from the Town for the willful destruction of my family’s quality of life.

    The whole point of my article above was that this (parking) was not an unknown problem from day one.

  6. The willful destruction of my family’s quality of life. Little over the top don’t you think Tim ? Compensation from the town, now that’s
    a waste of tax dollars.

  7. KPDL: I brought up the noise concerns and the lack of studies prior to the building permit being issued, Dave Pattinson, Joe Gosselin and Henry Chalifoux all voted against Mrs. Roy who felt the Town should ensure proper studies and due diligence were carried out.

    The Town then ignored recommendations by the architect for noise dampering on two occasions for cost savings reasons.
    So to make a long story short, the Town knew before, during and after they built it, that this facility was having an impact on the nearby residences, yet they went ahead and are now only offering to modify the parking lot…

    And yes, I consider not being able to sleep until 2am on weekends or listen to my TV without the constant thump, thump, thump of the base speakers to be destruction of my quality of life and a hindrance to my ability to enjoy quite in my own home.

    If and when a lawsuit comes, it will be a waste of tax dollars for sure, one you should take up with the Major, who has been very aware of this issue since day one.

  8. My comments have everything to do with what your saying. Your obvious disdain and bias blinds you to everything except your hate for the venue. I don’t trust your opinion in any way on the matter. That’s the point I was trying to make.

    Furthermore, I have been to quite a few events at the MCCC now and I have walked to and from them. Not once when doing so have I been able to hear anything coming from said Venue, even when the doors were open, once I got to the sidewalk bordering 100 Avenue. This speaks to your constant complaints that the venue generates too much noise and affects your quality of life.

  9. Christian, you are always quick with comment but little attention is ever paid to what is written. You constantly speak out in my articles yet it does not seem you ever comprehend what is being said… so let me spell it out for you… As I have stated in the past, the MCCC has become quite a success in that it houses a number of community events and clubs, which are quite respectable, as they conduct their events of which I couldn’t be happier for them. However there are a number of events (wedding receptions, concerts and other DJ’d events) which tend to run late and fail to control the noise levels or their intoxicated patrons <<< here lies the problem. Now if this is all in my head, I invite you to take a look at the posts I've put up on FaceBook: Morinville Community Cultural Centre (Those Against). Honestly, and I really mean honestly, how would you react if that was placed in your back yard with the owners (Town)knowing but not caring what the results would be.

  10. Tim, I get what you’re saying. I’m not sure you’re hearing me though. I HAVE BEEN to concerts at the MCCC. I could not hear any significant amount of noise coming from the venue when I was on the street bordering that venue. Now, as to your concerns in regards to wedding receptions, I have no idea. I haven’t attended one at the MCCC as of yet, maybe the DJs at those events need to be more considerate with their noise levels like the concerts I’ve been to. If people attending events at the MCCC are wandering around drunk outside that has absolutely nothing to do with the venue. It’s the rude and ignorant people who are the problem. I live down the street from The Zoo and often hear drunken slobs walking down my street at all hours of the night, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. While I’d love to have someone I can hold accountable for this, the reality is I can only blame those actually doing it and not the venue they came from.

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