Lancaster parking problems persist; first step solution planned

In this June 2018, file photo, a section of Military Road in Lancaster, Ont. including Walter McDougall International Logistics. South Glengarry is taking the first step at trying to curb Lancaster employees, particularly from the trucking company, from parking on the street all day, taking up spaces for potential paying customers. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

LANCASTER – South Glengarry is looking at a number of aesthetic ideas to curb the problem of employees parking along Military Road – sometimes the entire workday.

The township council has been reluctant to put a parking bylaw in place for the three kilometer stretch of road in the village, which has more than 20 businesses.

At the same time, it hasn’t minced words about its frustration over one particular business allowing employees to park on the street all day, taking up possible parking spots for potential shoppers.

“There was an issue with trucks in…Lancaster and since that time it seemed to have gone away with change of ownership to a certain building, but it hasn’t gone away. There’s trucks parked on South Terrace for multiple days at a time. But that’s not the only issue. There’s also…the trucking company having employees parking on main street all day,” Coun. Trevor Bougie said during a council meeting last month.

Bougie wanted something “creative” to deal with the issue because speaking with the trucking company hasn’t helped. “Talking to these certain individuals hasn’t got us very far.”

This is not the first problem with Walter McDougall International Logistics. In May, the township said it met several times with the company over “numerous complaints” about trucks parked in the municipal lot on Collin Street. Walter McDougall’s previous parking arrangement in the former Berrigan’s property came to an end when that property was sold. The company maintains the township has “created their problem,” according to a May 22 staff report.

The parking plan, unveiled last week, includes signs indicating “complementary parking” with local business highlighted or the entire downtown area, painting parking spots on the road and talking with business owners to make sure their employees are parking on side streets.

Economic Development Coordinator Shauna Baggs told council last week all the options wouldn’t cost a lot. Since Military Road is also a county road, the township is working with the county on the sign option, which would cost about $100 per sign.

“It’s a good presentation. I still don’t see a solution to the problem. If the employees of any of the businesses along there want to park there, what stops them from parking there? You can say be a good neighbour, you can put lines, you can put signs…but what’s stopping them? What’s the solution to that?” Coun. Bill McKenzie said.

Baggs conceded that there is nothing that can stop them because there’s no parking bylaw.

Deputy Mayor Frank Prevost and Coun. Trevor Bougie were in support of all three ideas.

The report on parking options was received for information by council but no action was taken last week (Nov. 5).