- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

This series  (Part 1 and Part 2) has been in response to questions raised by downtown business owners. Today's questions came from a residential taypayer and a library patron.

1. What does the City Manager propose to do with three-quarters of the DIA members' levy – the $180,000?

$81,000 to remove snow from the roads and parking lots, and maintenance of the municipal lots including paving, signage repairs etc.
$37,500 for parking enforcement (2 hour maximums, disabled spots, etc.)
and $61,500 for debenture payments for Lot #5, a City asset that was repaved several years ago.

(source: email from Wayne Ritchie, City Manager, Sept.2018)

These are City expenses and City assets, currently included in the City's capital and operating budgets, and paid for by the City's tax base.

2. Does the City assume the parking-related expenses (plowing, asphalt maintenance) for businesses in City properties like Harrison Park, the airport and the Rec Centre, and on other streets of the City outside the DIA boundaries?  As far as we have determined from surveyed tenants and business owners, yes.

3. Who will be expected to pay for maintenance, signage, plowing and painting on 1st Avenue West/9th Ave. West when the meters are removed?
This area of 1st Avenue West  – opposite the library, Tom Thomson, St. Andrew's Church, Tone Studio and the homes and businesses in the 900 block – is not in the Downtown Improvement Area. None of them pay the DIA levy over and above their property taxes. But for consistency, those meters will be removed too.  There has been no answer so far as to whether the City will continue to pay for the snow removal, line painting, parking enforcement, signage, road maintenance and paving on this side of the river, or oblige the DIA to pay.  Why are some roads (most roads) city responsibility, and others at the expense of local businesses?
According to patrons, the argument that - with two hour free parking - visitors to 1st Avenue West will add a downtown lunch or shopping trip on the other side of the river is not a realistic view of how long those patrons now stay in the library, church or gallery, according to patrons.

Which raised the further questions -

4. Will my time at the library or gallery now be limited to two hours, with no option to “top it up” ? Where do we park when that time is up? How will this affect volunteers and patrons?  This is all to be determined after the DIA has agreed to the $180,000 deal in 2019.

We still cannot find where anyone asked for any changes other than consistency and clarity in Owen Sound parking. 







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