County looking for land in downtown Port Dover to create parking lot

By David Judd

JOHN Wells hopes Port Dover’s downtown will have a new public parking lot by next summer.
County staff are investigating available property for Norfolk County to purchase.
The downtown needs another parking lot. Portable public washrooms also might be located there, Coun. Wells told a county meeting last Tuesday.
Coun. Wells said he wants to see Port Dover’s downtown stay healthy and vibrant.
He expressed concern that the new Dover Coast development at Port Dover’s eastern entrance on Highway 6 will become Port Dover’s commercial core.
Customers want to park right in front of businesses or they won’t go in, Coun. Wells said.
If there’s no parking, there’s no shopping, he said.
Coun. Wells pointed to Simcoe, where stores migrated out of the downtown to Highway 3.
Councillors unanimously supported Coun. Wells’ request to look for downtown property for a parking lot and portable washrooms.
It’s good foresight to look ahead, Mayor Charlie Luke said.
Parking is a problem now and is liable to grow as Port Dover gains more residents and tourists, the mayor said.
The downtown has lost 25 to 30 parking places in the last three or four years, Adam Veri, president of the Port Dover Board of Trade, told councillors last Tuesday.
Parking is a desperate need during warm months. It also is an issue in the off-season, Mr. Veri said.
“I don’t want the downtown to be a spot people don’t want to go,” Mr. Veri said.
Mr. Veri suggested allowing angle parking on both sides of Market Street, west of Main Street. He also suggested that block of Market Street be made one way.
Some other concerns were addressed by Lee Robinson, general manager of public works and environmental services:
o Parking will be restored on the south side of Clinton Street between Main Street and St. Andrew Street. About a dozen spaces were lost following construction work last year.
o Lines will be painted to show location of parking spots on downtown streets. Lack of lines has caused confusion and sloppy parking.
o A consulting engineer will consider eliminating left turns from Market Street East onto Main Street.
o And council will consider seeking a general study of downtown parking in 2018.
After the meeting, Mr. Veri said he was glad that county councillors are thinking seriously about Port Dover’s parking issues.

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