LETTER: Parking ticket no incentive to visit Uptown Port Alberni

I live off Argyle Street, and make an effort to do my shopping in my Uptown neighbourhood...

To the Editor,

I am a relatively new resident to Port Alberni, moving here with my family in January of this year. Prior to purchasing a home here, we visited town last fall to take in the city and scenery to try and get a feel for the place. I watched a city council meeting on the hotel TV, and the topic of discussion was “revitalizing Third Avenue”.

Some local business owners and residents presented their thoughts and concerns, and I got the impression that though they were facing challenges outside of their control, they believed in the potential of the neighbourhood.

I now live off Argyle Street, and make an effort to do my shopping, when possible, in my Uptown neighbourhood. One of the neighbourhood gems for families with small children is Full of Beans Play Cafe, an establishment I visited this past Friday around noon. After spending a couple hours there, during which time I bought coffee, lunches and snacks for everyone, I was disheartened to find a $30 bylaw ticket on my vehicle window. The offence cited was ‘Exceed posted time limits’—I was there for 2.5 hours.

I would understand this time limit if this was a high-traffic area or time of day. This was not the case: there were several vacant parking stalls on the street.

After receiving the ticket, I came to the conclusion that the city pays little more than lip service to the idea of fostering a neighbourhood where people can visit, park, shop eat and drink. Instead of continuing my plans in the neighbourhood, which included a visit to Hone & Strop barber for a kids cut and a trip to Animal Ark for a few supplies, we packed up and drove across town to Pacific Rim Centre. It wasn’t my first choice to patronize chain stores, but it was reassuring to know that I can park there and visit a few businesses without fear of a surprise $30 parking tax.

Between the city’s inaction on derelict and unsightly buildings, the pending closure of BMO, and the nonsensical parking restrictions, what incentive is there for people, let alone those from across town, to visit the Uptown area? It seems the Johnson Road corridor is all city hall really cares about; which is nice for those who drive through town, but what about those who live here?

Derek Dunbar,

Port Alberni

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