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Parkade demolition on the horizon

Demolition of the western half of the Front Street parkade will be included in the 2014 City of New Westminster budget. - NewsLeader file photo
Demolition of the western half of the Front Street parkade will be included in the 2014 City of New Westminster budget.
— image credit: NewsLeader file photo

Removing the western half of the Front Street parkade will be included in New Westminster’s 2014 budget process, something Downtown businesses say they are OK with.

The city has long called for the removal of the older portion of the little-used parkade built in the late 1950s, but until recently the move was resisted by members of the Downtown New Westminster Business Improvement Area.

However, the BIA’s official position now, stated in a Nov. 21 letter to council, is “we are in favour of partial removal of the Parkade in order to connect the waterfront to our Downtown New West. We believe that the overall vision will improve our business community in the long run.”

There is a caveat, though.

The BIA is only supporting the vision if there’s adequate parking built near the demolished section for local businesses, and there’s a good connection to the waterfront.

The final report of the city’s Downtown Parking Strategy was presented to council Monday. In it, senior planner Mark Allison said 20 to 40 on-street stalls would be needed in the vicinity of the parkade in the short term with another 150 in the area in the long term. He wrote that a recent analysis showed it’s possible to put in 40 angled parking stalls on Front Street between Begbie and Sixth streets once the parkade is removed, and parking in the area will grow by about seven or eight stalls a year as new structures are built in the Downtown area.

In addition, a recent analysis shows effective connections to the waterfront can be created by building an overpass at Sixth Street.

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