The District of Lantzville will look into the possibility of converting a small park into a gravel parking lot to accommodate beach-goers.
Lantzville councillors, during a council meeting on Oct. 21, voted in favour of having staff provide cost estimates for converting Sebastion Road Park into a gravel parking lot.
Sebastion Road Park, located at the corner of Sebastion Road and Lantzville Road is approximately 440 metres away from an area of waterfront sometimes referred to as Sebastion Beach.
In recent years, there have been concerns raised by members of council and residents about the lack of parking at the end of Sebastion Road.
The road is expected to receive significant upgrades, including sidewalk installation and repaving, as the district moves forward with the third phase of its $6.9-million sanitary sewer project.
During the Oct. 21 meeting, Coun. Karen Proctor, who made the motion, told councillors the idea is to covert Sebastion Road Park into a “very casual parking lot” and that not all the trees would need to be cut down. She said based on her understanding of the sewer project, when the road is repaved there will be less on-street parking than there is currently.
“It could offer some parking stalls to remediate the fact that there will be less parking on Sebastion Road,” Proctor said, adding. “I think it is a simple little job, we’ve talked a lot about providing beach access for people and I think it is a simple way to do it.”
Proctor said in the 31 years she has lived in Lantzville, she has never seen anyone use the park.
“Maybe somebody uses it occasionally,” she said, adding that her husband mentioned to her that he had seen two people using the park for the first time in his life. “So, I don’t think anybody is going to miss it.”
Coun. Will Geselbracht said as someone who regularly visits Sebastion Beach he is aware of the neighbourhood’s concerns around parking. He said if there is indeed a reduction of parking along Sebastion Road, then building a parking lot nearby would be a good idea.
However, Coun. Ian Savage said he couldn’t support Proctor’s motion. He said as a resident of upper Lantzville, he doesn’t want to have to park so far away from the beach on a hot day, especially when he just wants to go for a quick dip.
“I’m just not interested in parking at the very end of Sebastion Road on Lantzville Road, that long walk and lugging a beach chair and so on down to the beach, where the point of me going is a quick dip and back home,” he said.
Savage also said the focus should be on “keeping as many spots” as possible.
“This road belongs to all the residents of Lantzville and they have a right to park close to the beach and I don’t understand this precedent,” Savage said.
Coun. Jamie Wilson and Mayor Mark Swain were supportive of receiving a cost estimate report from staff. Swain said in regards to the larger issue of parking, it would be better for council to wait until after Sebastion Road upgrades have been completed before moving forward with other plans.
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