City of Vernon, restaurant work on parking problem

Little Tex wants reserved signs for 10 paid spots

The City of Vernon is working on a solution to a parking conundrum at a downtown Mexican eatery.

Little Tex Restaurant has launched a petition, which has garnered nearly five pages worth of signatures, asking council for permission to put up reserved signs so its customers can know where the 10 parking spots Little Tex says it has purchased along 29th Street by the railway tracks, directly across from the restaurant, are located.

“I can imagine anybody who buys a parking space from the city would want a reserved sign if you give it to one,” said Mayor Akbal Mund. “That may make it difficult when people are buying different parking spots over in different parking areas. The cost would be massive. And you can’t favour one business. You can’t set a precedent.”

The problem for small businesses such as Little Tex is paying for the spots in full for one year, which businesses can now do.

“Could they pay monthly but contract for a year, like I do with my truck insurance?” asked Coun. Brian Quiring.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham, a small business owner in downtown Vernon for 28 years, said she pays for parking for her staff for one year at the beginning of each year. Even that, sometimes, isn’t enough she said.

“The parking lots are over-subscribed and some days they have to use a (parking) meter,” said Cunningham. “We can’t make an exception for one business. I’m sorry. If they did pay in advance for one year, it’s reasonable to expect that those spots would be reserved for a year.”

Little Mex is using pylons to indicate the parking spots.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal said she has received complaints from businesses about people parking in their spots that they haven’t paid for. Those with paid spots have an identifying ticket placed inside their car.

“We patrol around there approximately four times a day,” said Geoff Gaucher, the city’s manager of protective services. “We generally ticket any car without a sticker. Some spots aren’t sold. If there’s an unauthorized vehicle taking up a paid spot, that vehicle will be towed. If an authorized vehicle is waiting for its paid stall,” we’ll ticket the offending vehicle.”

City administrator Will Pearce assured council that the city’s lands manager, Brett Bandy, is working with Little Tex to find reasonable middle ground, working on a deal for that parking lot area to be signed exclusively for the restaurant. The city would be looking for a three-month commitment but paid one month in advance.

“We’re narrowing it down from a year to try and help a new restaurant succeed, we understand the cash flow challenges,” said Pearce. “It’s not an acceptable situation now, and we’re trying to get out of that by striking a reasonable middle ground.

“To be straight up, we can’t have a business, on their own volition, reserve sites they haven’t paid for. We have to deal with that as well.”

A report on the situation will be forthcoming to council.

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