Town of Stettler council were pleased with most of a proposed Japanese-style parking lot plan presented to them at their regular meeting Nov. 3, only voicing some concern about the amount of lighting available.
Councillors read a report from the town’s Director of Operational Services Melissa Robbins regarding plans to improve the public parking lot located at the intersection of 50 Ave. and 49 St., one block east of main street and across the street from the Royal Hotel.
Robbins noted that the general plan is to develop the parking lot in a fashion that pays tribute to Stettler’s twinned community located in Japan, a town called Okappe.
It was mentioned at the meeting Okappe has a street named after Stettler, while Stettler has little to recognize Okappe in return.
Robbin’s report included a budget breakdown for the parking lot, including a total cost of $50,000 with lighting ($17,000), dropped entrances ($15,000), parking curbs ($4,500), platings ($10,000) and signage ($3,500) making up the bulk of the work.
She stated the parking lot would be gravel, and when asked how much it would cost to pave it, Robbins answered the cost would be about $80,000.
She noted ATCO Electric is a principal partner in the project, as options for the parking lot include two new light standards that are of a style similar to those used in Okappe.
Coun. Gord Lawlor stated he’s heard complaints about that parking lot being “too dark.”
Robbins responded that ATCO feels two light standards, plus the surrounding lights, should be enough for a parking lot that size.
A sign at the entrance to the parking lot will explain Stettler’s relationship to the Japanese twin.
Plans also include double- flowering plum shrubs, which Robbins noted appear very similar to Japanese cherry blossoms but will survive the Alberta climate.
The trash can will be adorned with an illustration of the Japanese town.
Coun. Malcolm Fischer asked about the street in Okappe named after Stettler, and Robbins answered it is actually Okappe’s main street, with a nearby family park.
Coun. Al Campbell, examining the artwork provided in the agenda package, said, “This looks really good.” Campbell noted there is a sign in West Stettler Park noting Stettler’s relationship with Okappe, and the sign is not very impressive.
Councillors spent some time discussing three different parking stall layouts for the project, ranging from mostly passenger vehicle stalls to half set aside for RVs and cattle trailers.
Mayor Sean Nolls stated he liked option #2 which sets aside two spots for oversize vehicles as most of the people using this lot either work downtown or will be shopping.
Robbins responded she kept a close eye on this lot over the summer and generally saw a lot of passenger traffic with maybe one oversize vehicle per day.
She noted the lot would have about 30 vehicles on it on a very busy day.
As well, it was noted future development in the area could have a big effect on the parking lot’s usage.
Coun. Cheryl Barros asked about handicapped spots, and Robbins answered the spots would be located adjacent the paved alley to make it easier for people with wheelchairs and canes.
Mayor Nolls noted the lighting of the lot was the most important detail right now, and that the stall layout could wait for a future meeting.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter