Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
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Township not willing to budge on Wyatt Street parking leases

The Wyatt Street municipal parking lot in Elmira may lose a few spaces. Or it may not. Either way, it’s fine with Woolwich councillors, who’ve adopted a take-it-or-leave-it attitude in negotiations with one of the landowners. The LCBO, which leases out part of the parking lot behind the liquor store at 31 Church St. W., wants more money and a shorter term than is the case with the other eight landowners involved in the deal with the township. Meeting this week, council said it’s not prepared to budge.

At risk are some four to six parking spots, said deputy clerk Val Hummel, prompting Coun. Allan Poffenroth to ask if the LCBO could opt to fence or block the space from continued public use.

“It’s their land and we don’t have a lease agreement,” she replied.

Since first consolidating downtown parking on the site in 1990, the township has paid a number of property owners 6.4 cents per square foot to lease the land. That amounts to about $12,350 a year. Woolwich renewed the 10-year leases with all the other landowners in 2010, but the LCBO has held out. In 2010, the agency asked for a 10 per cent increase on its rate of $489.79 (7,653 square feet at $0.064 per sq. ft.), another 10 per cent for 2013 and 2014 and another 10 per cent jump in 2015. It wanted a five-year lease instead of the 10-year option.

Earlier this year, the LCBO modified its proposal, said Hummel, asking for a 10 per cent increase (to $538.77 annually from $489.79) and the five-year term.

But even that was too much for council, which decided it would be unfair to treat any of the property owners differently. The goal is to maintain the arrangement, which provides a win-win for both parties: businesses get parking space and tenant parking for the apartments overhead, while the township consolidates downtown parking and has a large open space for events such as the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.

Poffenroth praised the initial 1990 deal that made useful a mishmash of land behind the Arthur Street businesses, pushing through a laneway linking Wyatt and Church streets.

“It created a lot of extra parking for downtown shoppers and workers,” he said.

Having voted on the issue, the township will inform the LCBO of its decision and await a response.

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