Since opening its doors to the public in 2012, Lake Country’s Kangaroo Creek Farm has been a huge success. But with growth, comes issues.
Parking arose at Lake Country council as owner Caroline MacPherson asked for a permit to expand her operations to a neighboring property that will take Kangaroo Creek Farm from its current 3.5 acres to close to 10 acres in total.
The district is asking MacPherson to come up with 28 parking stalls to help alleviate congestion on Main Street.
“From a planning perspective it has been found that the Kangaroo Farm is such a draw to the community that parking can now become in short supply on Main Street during the busy tourism season and during the Farm’s operating hours,” said planner Paul Dupuis in a report.
“The site provides limited parking opportunities. This means that visitors are either parking on Main Street and in some cases may be using the adjacent parking lot of commercial businesses.”
At Kangaroo Creek, there is parking on the farm for handicapped customers but parking for visitors is limited to Main Street and nearby businesses.
MacPherson suggested there could be parking allocated on an empty lot across from the farm’s entrance but added she would have to lease the property from the district.
A long-time resident of Lake Country, MacPherson says it’s been frustrating getting the parking issue dealt with and says if a solution can’t be found, she may have to change the way she operates in order to limit the amount of visitors and cut down on traffic.
“I think what people need to know is if they ever see the day where we throw our hands in the air and bring a fee schedule in (to charge visitors), it’s not out of greed it’s out of frustration because we have been made a victim of our own success,” she said.
“If the municipality continues to put pressure on I will eventually be forced to charge a fee in order to reduce the number of people that come.”
In the end, council voted to approve a temporary use permit for the expansion but included the need for additional parking spaces. Kangaroo Creek has five months to come up with a plan for the 28 stalls. Expansion plans are expected to begin in late July.
“I think it will get ironed out but it’s been a lot more stressful than it needs to be,” said MacPherson.