Already at a premium, parking around the park and ball diamond in Conestogo just got scarcer, as Woolwich this week prohibited parking on the west Side of Evening Star Lane, south of Elgin Street. Approved Tuesday night by council, the move effectively rules out parking along the entire side of Conestogo Community Park.
The decision comes despite the opposition from a couple of neighbours who see the move as overkill. The township, however, sees the prohibition as a way to reduce damage to the grass and to reduce the chance of cars being struck by errant baseballs.
Lisa MacDonald of the Conestogo Rec. Association said the group last year had four complaints about balls striking cars. Living nearby, she’s seen cars parking along the fence line, damaging the grass and leaving ruts in the wet weather. Former councillor Murray Martin, a Conestogo resident who tends to the park and fields, told her damage makes maintenance more problematic.
But Evening Star Lane resident Grant Schwartz called the parking restrictions “a whole lot of hassle” for an issue that only occurs three or four times a year when there’s a ball tournament at the diamond.
“There doesn’t seem to be a problem in my eyes,” he told councillors, noting he and his neighbours will lose on-street parking options.
That sentiment was echoed by neighbour Opal Partridge, who argued the current parking arrangement hasn’t been an issue in the three years she’s lived on the street.
In fact, cars are probably safer from stray balls closer to the park fence than on the east side or in the driveways, she argued, adding her own windshield was broken as the car sat in front of her home.
Parking restrictions, added Partridge, would be an inconvenience to the players, who are mostly courteous and considerate.
Only Mayor Todd Cowan seemed swayed by the neighbours, however – his was the lone dissenting vote in the 3-1 decision.
He questioned why the township would restrict on-street parking when it has to rely on a neighbouring commercial business – Brody Enterprises, which allows the use of its lot – to deal with overflow parking. The nearby township works yard also provides extra parking when the diamond is especially busy.
For Coun. Mark Bauman, the decision to support the parking prohibition came down to safety, as he argued cars alongside the park posed a potential hazard if kids darted out between them and into the roadway.
The plan is to post a series of “No Parking Any Time” signs along the stretch road, which would also prevent overnight parking as well as park-related use.