The signs say park and facility users can park for free in the lot at the bottom of Colonel Samuel Smith Dr.
And judging by the number of cars
there, the park should have been buzzing with visitors on a recent
Monday afternoon. There were a few people walking their dogs, but other
than that, there didn’t appear to be a lot of folks using the park and
waterfront trail. Then again, it’s hard to tell who’s who — visitors to
the park or students walking through the lakefront campus of nearby
Humber College adjacent to the park. Chances are pretty good that most
of the vehicles in the lot likely belong to students or staff taking
advantage of a freebee.
And that’s got Mark Hlibchuk steamed.
He recently came to the park to skate on the trail but couldn’t because
all the spots in the free lot were full. He figures students “ignored
the numerous signs which state that this lot is for park users only.”
Hlibchuk complained to Ward 6
Councillor Mark Grimes, whose constituency assistant Colin Johnson told
him the lot is “open to all . . . including Humber College students. . .
. The parks department does not have any policies in place to target
drivers using the lot who are not there to make use of the park.”
Hlibchuk said he was advised the posted signs are merely a “suggestion,”
and unenforceable by law.
“Unless there is a bylaw, people will
just ignore the sign,” he told The Fixer. Hlibchuk wants a bylaw
passed, “but I don’t think the will is there with councillors, parks and
rec, parking, or any other city department.”
Though he doesn’t get many complaints
about the parking lot, city manager of parks Kevin Bowser said
enforcing the rules at the busy park is tough. It would mean bringing on
staff to mark tires and monitor who’s using the lot. That’s
time-consuming and expensive. An alternative would be to charge for
parking there, just as the city does in the municipal lot to the north,
closer to campus. That no doubt would upset legitimate park users.
Bowser said his staff will meet with
the parking authority to see what can be worked out and report back.
Good thing is, the college year is almost over, which will free up
spaces at least until September.