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NNSL Photo/graphic

A Northwest Transport truck bypasses the loading zone at Centre Square Mall because cars are parked in the loading zone. - John King/NNSL photo

Downtown parking woes

John King
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 16/05) - Yellowknife is liberally salted with loading zones that eat up parking space in some of the busiest areas of the city.

"Loading zones take away from available parking," said Sarah Silke, who helps her elderly mother, Anna, shop for groceries every week.

"It's a constant problem. You just can't find parking."

Last week, when Sarah pulled onto 54th St., the only available parking space near Northern United Place was a loading zone.

"When I got back downstairs a bylaw officer stood by my car writing out a ticket," Silke said. "If I was to park legally, then I would have had to park all the way by 52nd Avenue."

Sarah managed to talk her way out of the ticket, but the same situation could present itself yet again.

Over the course of last year, city bylaw officers handed out 321 loading zone tickets and warnings.

"Only those with a loading permit can use a loading zone area to park," said Supervisory Const. Daryle Foster. "Taxis are allowed to load and unload passengers for five minutes."

To obtain a loading permit, said Foster, those with a commercial or public service license must apply and pay a $100 fee.

"We have one commissionaire who patrols downtown on foot every day," Foster said.

If a vehicle is attended by the driver, the driver might only be told to move along, said Foster.

Kiel Lukaniuk, manager of the Source, an electronics store located in Centre Square Mall, said the loading zone restrictions don't present a problem to customers with large, unwieldy purchases.

"It's never had an affect on a sale, customers will just double park if they have to. It's really just an inconvenience."

For shopper Sasha Sage, the fact that loading zones take up prime parking real estate is just an inconvenience.

"If I need to, I'll just go ahead and use the loading zone," Sage said.

Rob Peebles, who worked as a delivery driver in the capital, said Yellowknife needs loading zones. "Things have to get delivered," Peebles said. "Usually there isn't enough loading space, or someone's already parked in the loading zone area and you have to drive around looking for a place to park.

"We have to accommodate people who are doing this kind of work."