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Library to have dedicated seniors parking spot following community feedback

There will now be a dedicated parking spot for seniors directly outside the Arts and Learning Campus following "community feedback," Council learned Monday. The new lot, set to be constructed at 31 Riverside Drive, will also have three seniors spaces and three family spaces.
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Parking areas for the Okotoks Arts and Learning Campus on May 4. Council learned May 9 that changes are being made to parking at the building after community member's expressed their grievances on a resident Facebook page.

Following a social media post by an Okotoks senior that generated significant discussion online, the Town has decided to make adjustments to parking outside the Arts and Learning Campus.

During Monday's council meeting, Coun. Rachel Swendseid raised questions about parking during the 'councillor inquiries and suggestions' portion of the agenda.

She wanted to know what the timeline was for development of the new parking spaces at 31 Riverside Drive, as well as if anything could be done to redesignate the stalls.

CAO Elaine Vincent told council that internal communication was sent to library employees May 6 announcing a reconfigured parking plan, "following feedback from the community."

There will now be a dedicated seniors stall outside the new library, she said.

According to Vincent, a preferred contractor for development of the new parking lot west of the building has been established, though a timeline is still in flux. The new parking lot will have three dedicated spots for seniors and three dedicated spots for families, she added. All changes to existing parking will be made when the new lot is constructed.

Among the changes made to the plan for the new parking lots, seven angled spots currently reserved for electric vehicles out front will be adjusted to open, general parking, according to Vincent. Plans initially indicated there would be three electric vehicle spots in the new lot, but now three of those will be changed to commuter parking.

Environment and sustainability co-ordinator Jeff Greene previously said that the justification for the location and designation of existing electric parking spaces at the site was in relation to the Town's commitment to a gold LEED certification, which awards points based on sustainability and environmental factors. Vincent said that the adjustments being made to parking will not affect the certification, as the spots are being relocated rather than eliminated.

This move upholds the Town's commitment to sustainability while accurately reflecting parking usage at the Arts and Learning Campus, she added.

The Town will continue to monitor progression and feedback on the site, Vincent said.

The Wheel published a story online May 5 outlining the grievances of Dot Ruse, who said she decreased her visits to the local library after the Arts and Learning Campus replaced the old Okotoks Library in the fall of 2021. She explained that this was due to her issues with parking at the site. 

Ruse said she was glad that changes were being made after hearing the news May 10. She said it will certainly aid in improving the parking situation at the site.


Lauryn Heintz

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