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THUNDER BAY -- One north core business owner doesn’t see an issue with parking in downtown Port Arthur if the proposed multiplex is to be built there.
“If people really want to come to it, they will find a spot to park and it will be within 800 metres of the multiplex,” said Jim Commuzzi, owner of Rooster’s Bistro and Waterfront District BIA member.
If people drove around during Blues Fest, Rib Fest or the Canada Day celebration this summer, there was more than enough parking with the Heart of the Harbour parkade, street parking and public and private lots, said Commuzzi, who owns three parking lots with a total of 75 spaces on Van Norman and St. Paul Streets.
While he has tenants that use those spaces during weekdays, they are open to the public at night and on the weekends.
“Rib Fest, we had 25,000 people over three days. It was a block and a half from my parking lots…on those days I had a total of eight cars in my parking lots. Blues Fest, over three days they had over 17,000 people. On those three days I had less than seven cars in my three parking lots,” he said.
Commuzzi said he doesn’t know what the problem is when it comes to the debate as to whether the north core or Innova Park would be better suited for the proposed multiplex. In a study released Wednesday, consultants found the north core to be the better site citing economic impact as the main factor.
A number of people have voiced their opinions on social media sites and in tbnewswatch’s comment section that they feel there would be more and closer parking at the Innova Park site.
In the Citizens for an Innova Park Multiplex Facebook group, Teri Joseph said some people already don’t attend hockey games at the Fort William Gardens because of a lack of parking.
“Well you can guarantee to see even less want to venture several blocks to go watch a game,” Joseph wrote.
As a patron of many of the north core restaurants, Margaret Phirbny is worried there won’t be parking available for those dining out.
“Really don’t know what I will do if there is no parking available for restaurant patrons because event goers have take all available spots. Don’t think that I would walk for blocks in the area in the winter particularly,” she wrote.
Alun Lloyd, a principal for the BA Group, was responsible for the parking and transportation portion of the consultants’ report and said they both sites do work for a multiplex, but building a 2,000 unit parking facility at Innova Park, which would include rebuilding some of the roads and adding new access roads would cost more. The price tag is an estimated $10 million.
Also, parking at the Innova site would not be free. It would cost about $5 during events.
With downtown Port Arthur, existing parking can be used along with the construction of a 200 unit parking facility, which cost around $6 million.
There are currently 1,800 city-owned parking spaces in the north core, including the parkade and street parking. There are an additional 2,000 private spaces. All of the parking is within a 10 to 12 minute walk to where the multiplex would be built.
“It’s making use of existing parking, building less parking and ultimately spending less money on parking compared to Innova Park,” Lloyd said.
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