Just as Lacombe city council is divided over the issue of arena parking lot upgrades, so too it seems the community is divided.
In this week’s Lacombe Globe web poll asking readers, “Do you think the arena parking lot poses a safety hazard?” 79% of respondents (483 votes) voted no, whereas 21% (126 votes) said yes.
In a Globe web poll the previous week asking, “Are you in favour of the city spending $834,000 for arena parking lot upgrades?” 97% (116 votes) said no, and 3% (4 votes) said yes.
What’s interesting in this arena parking lot debate, is that no data has been presented by either council or administration to assert their belief that the parking lot poses a safety hazard.
Although, when asked by the Globe, Lacombe Police Chief (LPS) Gary Leslie didn’t indicate if there were any collisions or near misses with pedestrians in the parking lot over a number of years, he said he didn’t recall any recently.
In addition, Leslie said that the LPS has had its traffic CPO focusing on the arena parking lot to make sure drivers don’t cut through the lot to avoid the intersection at 53rd St. and 54th Ave.
Drivers cutting through the parking lot usually do so when the school busses are in the area.
A retired police officer living in this community, emailed the Globe with a simple solution that would save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The retired officer suggested the city put up concrete curbing that would separate the two parking lots. No one would be able to get through one parking lot to the other and he said it would cost about $500. He said this would also create a few more parking stalls.
That certainly is a good suggestion and something city council and administration may want to consider.
Throughout the budget deliberations, the city hasn’t provided any data backing up their claim that the arena parking lot is a safety issue. This gives the appearance that the city is making too fast of a decision to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money that may be better spent in other areas.
Also, without enough information, this also creates a divided community on the issue.