Steinbach City Council has voted to limit parking on Cottonwood Drive and Cottonwood Bend at the request of the residents.
Residents from 10 households recently signed and submitted a petition asking council to limit parking on weekdays, block off the sidewalk that connects Cottonwood Drive to McKenzie Boulevard during school hours, and get RCMP to enforce no parking rules as well as the city’s noise bylaws.
Though he didn’t move to act on all of the residents’ requests, Councillor Jac Siemens did put forward a motion on Tuesday to limit parking from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday. He notes this is part of a tough discussion that has been going on for six to eight years.
“This all has to do with the pathway that goes through to McKenzie and the issue has been the gathering of students during the day during school hours. This is also where students park, they have to pay for parking at the school but don't have to pay for parking on the street here so that would eliminate student parking in that area”
For years, residents have been concerned about students using the walkway that connects Cottonwood Drive to McKenzie Boulevard. They say students use both ends of the pathway as a place to consume and sell drugs and alcohol, regularly hang out on residents' private property, litter, and deface private fences among other things.
Councillor Michael Zwaagstra says limiting parking may help to affect change in the area.
“This is one step we can take to hopefully make an impact on this challenge. Obviously, the issue occurs during the school year, during school hours and there is a limit to what the city can do with students, but as far as trying to make it less desirable to hang out in that area, this is a step that I think we can make.”
The recommendation from Steinbach’s administration was to deny the request as, from a traffic management perspective, there are no issues. Siemens acknowledges this perspective but notes it is important to make an exception in this case.
“I think by listening to the residents that live there 24 hours a day, it shows that city council listens to their concerns and they do have valid concerns I believe and it is a step to solving the issue. I don't know if it will solve the issue totally but it is a step to solving the issue.”
Council was unanimous in supporting the motion to limit parking.
Back in 2019, the Hanover School Division got involved, asking the city to close the pathway, a request council ultimately denied. Despite the petition, the sidewalk between Cottonwood Drive and McKenzie Boulevard will remain open 24/7.