Board of Trade asks County to buy downtown Port Dover land for parking

Board of Trade President Adam Veri asked County councillors to consider buying the former Burcham property at Main and Chapman Streets for downtown parking.

By David Judd

COUNTY councillors are interested in maybe buying land for a municipal parking lot on Main Street.
Norfolk staff are checking out the former Burcham’s property at Main and Chapman streets.
They want to know what the property is worth and how many parking spaces it might have.
And they want to know about underground contamination from a former garage.
Councillors asked staff for a report in response to an appeal from Port Dover Board of Trade President Adam Veri last Tuesday.
Businesses and visitors constantly say the town needs more parking, Mr. Veri said.
He estimated the downtown has lost 60 on-street parking spaces in recent years.
The Burcham property could provide parking for 20 to 30 vehicles, Mr. Veri said.
It’s a “relatively affordable, slam dunk opportunity,” he said.
The lot’s owner accepted a conditional offer of $299,000 last June.
But nothing has happened since then.
The Board of Trade has offered to contribute $25,000 of the purchase price, paid in instalments of $5,000 a year over five years.
In January, council rejected doing a $95,000 parking and traffic study that was seen as a first step toward buying land for a parking lot.
Last Tuesday, Mayor Charlie Luke urged councillors to look into buying the Burcham property.
He said council doesn’t often have a chance to buy land on Main Street.
No date has been set for staff’s report.
Mr. Veri would like the lot paved for parking this year.
Trees and portable washrooms could be added in future years, he said in an interview.
A parking lot would support increased business activity on the block north of Chapman Street, Port Dover Coun. John Wells said in an interview.
The area is getting busier thanks to the new Dairy Queen, Roulston’s pharmacy and the sale of the former Raymonda Shoppe.
An environmental assessment found contamination beneath the Burcham’s property.
The contamination would not need to be cleaned up if the site becomes a parking lot, Mr. Veri said.

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