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TBM eyeing environmental features for new parking lot

·3 min read

The Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM) is designing a new municipal parking lot on Arthur Street, in a vacant lot adjacent to TD Bank.

The lot is scheduled to be built in the spring of 2022, and in operation by the summer.

Its current design will accommodate 49 parking spaces, including three barrier-free spaces.

Shawn Carey, director of operations for TBM, gave a presentation on the parking lot design at this week’s Sustainability Advisory Committee meeting.

He said the lot will use an existing cut in the street’s curb as both an access and exit point, in order to maximize the available number of parking spaces, and that the town will be incorporating a number of environmentally friendly features.

Although it has yet to be determined whether electric vehicle charging will be included, Carey said that the lot will have these capabilities.

“We are ... roughing in for electric vehicle charging stations, and we’re roughing it in now because it’s easier to do it during construction than it is afterwards. We are doing it in such a way that we can add additional units in the future if need be,” he said.

“One of the reasons we have it listed here as potential is we're currently working with council on more of an electrical vehicle charging strategy … and so we do have ... a little bit more work to do to come back to council with what that would look like.”

Carey said the lot will incorporate parking for bicycles as well. Traditional bike racks will be on-site, but the town is also considering bike lockers for people who want additional security.

“It's an app-enabled storage area where you can actually put your bike in this storage locker,” he said. “It's a simple app with your phone … this is just a way that you can pay to have it stored in this fashion without having to bring a lock with you … it's a little bit of extra protection.”

In terms of the lot’s green space, Carey said that the town will preserve the existing trees that it can, and ensure that buffer vegetation exists between the lot and neighbouring properties.

The town will also incorporate xeriscaping - a type of landscaping that prioritizes drought-resistant vegetation and reduces or eliminates the need for irrigation.

“Xeriscaping is certainly what we're proceeding with, and we're looking at what that will mean for species selection right now," Carey said.

“Pollinators [are] a key consideration ... creating wildlife habitat doesn't mean you have to plant forests. It can also be for pollinators, which is a big federal and provincial push right now.”

Other considerations for the parking lot include garbage-catching water drains, where a ‘sock’ located beneath the drain catches debris.

“These devices are … pretty new,” said Jeff Fletcher, manager of solid waste and environmental initiatives. “We're looking at this as somewhat of an information-gathering process ... we don't have any delusions that we're going to solve the litter problem, ... but it'll definitely give us a sense of, you know, the ease of use, but also ... what's being captured and that information can be aggregated with other citizen science that’s happening, and can help create policy around the provincial or even federal level.”

Collingwood uses a similar device in some of its storm drains. You can read about them here.

Greg McGrath-Goudie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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