A parking lot is “short-sighted,” according to Coun. Wendy Pratt, who argued it was premature to decide what should be done with the site set aside for a luxury hotel.
A decision to turn the vacant 100 Gordon St. lot into an interim pay parking lot was stalled at an open meeting Monday as councillors opted to wait until the property’s future direction has been settled.
Nanaimo city council previously called for a report on options to create an interim pay parking lot for tourist buses and RVs and learned this month it would cost an estimated $72,500 to create gravel stalls or $163,000 for paved ones – not including street lighting or landscaping. The lot also wouldn’t generate the revenue to cover the monthly operating charge for a ticket machine, let alone the cost of capital construction.
Coun. Diane Brennan called it a mistake to put a parking lot at the site when council hasn’t gone through an exercise on what it wants to do with the prime downtown property. It would also be a mistake to spend the money and set up parking when “we aren’t using all the parking we have,” she said.
Pratt called it a valuable piece of land that shouldn’t be discounted for anything.
“We are very premature in trying to put this into a box right now and decide what we’re going to do with it,” Pratt said.
Coun. Bill Yoachim expressed interest in interim use, like parking or an artisan centre, and also suggested the land be put on the market.
City manager Ted Swabey told council he plans to raise strategic planning priorities at a Sept. 28 core services review steering committee meeting, where one of the issues could be what to do with the site.