The same week Smithers officially opened a new paved parking lot and electric vehicle charging station just off Main Street, council passed the first two readings of a zoning bylaw amendment that would require fewer businesses provide their own parking lots.
The readings were passed unanimously at last Tuesday council meeting, with Coun. Shelley Browne not in attendance. The Second Avenue parking lot ribbon cutting was Friday.
Smithers council already amended the parking rules for restaurants and retail outlets, but approved adding more non-office uses. A recommendation from staff to develop a parking strategy for 2019 budget planning was defeated, with only councillors Bill Goodacre and Gladys Atrill voting for it. The next municipal election is October 2018.
Business under the following categories would no longer need to provide off-street parking:
– open-air produce market;
– hair stylist shop, dry-cleaning establishment, appliance repair shop, florist, laundromat, optical or watch repair shop, tailor shop, dressmaking shop, shoe repair and other similar services;
– studio, including artist, display, music, radio, recording, television, photographic studio;
– on-site manufacture and sale of hand crafted small goods when totally contained in a building;
Funding for the Second Avenue lot and charge station was provided by the Regional District Bulkley-Nechako’s Gas Tax grant of $75,000 and through the Town’s parking in lieu reserve funds.