Parking shortage at former Bateman site poses problems for Burlington
Parking is proving to be a problem at the old Robert Bateman High School as the City of Burlington works towards turning the site into a multi-purpose community hub.
While the reconversion of the site will go through two stages, when all is said and done, 233 new parking spaces — double what exists now — are needed to meet the City’s own zoning requirements for the facility, an amount that goes beyond what currently exists.
However, although the property is large, local politicians are reluctant to eat up the space of the sports field that was left behind when the school closed as the community now uses it as a park. As well, nearby residents fear that a lack of parking options at the site will lead to increased traffic and congestion on neighbourhood streets as users of the community centre search for a place to park.
Options the City is considering include negotiating a deal with two nearby churches to use their parking spaces during weekdays. These spaces are at Pineland Baptist Church and Good Neighbour Ministries and would be used for staff and students who will attend the Brock University campus at the site.
As well, the City is in discussions with the Halton Catholic District School Board to use some of its adjacent greenspace at Ascension Elementary School to redesign the entire area for public use thus possibly freeing up some of the land behind Bateman for parking.
Finally, an option calls for limiting the parking onsite and instead relying on transporting users to the facility.
All these options are considered temporary until a permanent parking solution is found. But, if none of these options are achieved, the City will have to look at increased parking at the site. Long-term options that have been mentioned include building on the current track field in the rear of the building.
At a recent City planning committee meeting, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward pointed out standards are changing and that off-site parking should be considered, especially if it can preserve greenspace such as what currently exists at Bateman.
Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman reiterated the call to preserve the greenspace saying residents in the area want the existing track and greenspace to remain.
A report outlining both temporary and permanent parking solutions is expected to come before council later this year.
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