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Parking peeve
City employees parking in visitor parking stalls

Alyssa Smith
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 14, 2010

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - When David Connelly went to city hall just after 9 a.m. Thursday morning to pay his parking tickets, there wasn't an open parking stall in sight.

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Resident David Connelly was told tickets would not be given to four city vehicles parked in visitor parking stalls at city hall on June 10. - Alyssa Smith/NNSL photo

He said each of the 15 visitors stalls was taken, but what bothered Connelly is that four of the stalls were being used by city vehicles.

After paying his parking tickets, Connelly said he asked the manager of municipal enforcement, Doug Gillard, if he could do anything about the offending yellow vehicles.

He said Gillard told him that he was not prepared to ticket city vehicles.

"I just didn't think that was a fair and equitable way to deal with my request," Connelly told News/North. "They should be treated the same as everybody else."

Connelly said he was then directed to take his complaint to city administration upstairs, which proceeded to direct him back to municipal enforcement. "I'm not mad, I just don't think it's fair," Connelly said.

When Connelly showed News/North where the vehicles had been parked shortly after the incident, two of the vehicles had already been moved from stalls with signs in front of them reading "city hall visitor's parking," but two were in the visitor parking spaces reserved for city hall and Somba K'e Civic Plaza parking.

There is a parking lot on the north side of city hall with stalls set aside for city employees, three stalls in front of the civic plaza and another three stalls reserved for city staff in the parking lot south of the plaza.

The city's Smart Growth Development Plan, completed last fall but yet to be approved by council, suggests there's ample parking downtown. "There is a surplus of parking in the downtown," the report reads on page 33, although city councillor Shelagh Montgomery, who chairs the Smart Growth committee, insisted last week the surplus parking comment was referring to private parking stalls, not those open to the public.

Council will vote whether to accept the Smart Growth plan next month.

Coun. Bob Brooks said he doesn't think there is problem with the amount of parking in front of city hall - for both staff and visitors. "There's actually more parking available than there was before," he said.

When construction on the civic plaza began in the summer of 2008, the parking lot, which encompassed the old Gerry Murphy Arena site and extended to the steps of city hall, was replaced with what is now a grassy park area.

Brooks said the majority of the complaints he's heard about parking in the area have stemmed from the increased number of construction vehicles for people working on the civic plaza expansion.

He suggested with the completion of the civic plaza later this year, the parking problems that have been associated with the construction will disappear.

It's unclear how many city staff park at city hall but News/North counted 62 parking stalls reserved for staff; there are 203 city staff, according to the 2010 budget.

Gillard did not return phone calls before press time.

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