Miramichi offers pay centre temporary parking relief

Some staff facing a parking crunch at the Miramich Pay Centre have been offered a temporary solution by the city.

City takes leadership role to find permanent parking solutions

Miramichi Pay Centre staff will be able to access 110 temporary parking spaces at the nearby Lord Beaverbrook Arena while the city works with pay centre management, the union and business on a permanent solution. (City of Miramichi)

Some staff facing a parking crunch at the Miramichi Pay Centre have been offered a temporary solution by the city. 

Mayor Adam Lordon has announced 110 parking spaces will be made available in the parking lot at the Lord Beaverbrook Arena. 

The arena is on University Avenue, less than a kilometre from the pay centre on nearby Victoria Avenue in the former town of Chatham. 

"We know it's been a very stressful situation for many of the employees that work there," Lordon said Tuesday. "We've been working for some time, meeting with management and union representatives and trying to help facilitate both short and long-term solutions." 

While the $85-million building was constructed to accommodate 600 employees, it doesn't have parking for half that number. The building is owned by Quebec-based Broccolini Construction which leases it to the government. 

The parking is operated by Indigo on behalf of Broccolini.

Finding a place to park has become an issue for some staff at the new Miramichi Pay Centre. (Gail Harding/CBC)

A lottery was held to assign the 298 paid parking spots at the building's two parking lots. The people whose names weren't drawn have been left scrambling to find an alternative location.

When asked about the parking at the building, a spokesperson for Public Services and Procurement Canada wrote in an email that the government "created a new, modern workspace for our valued and skilled workforce in the Miramichi area."

"The parking provided at the new Public Service Pay Centre complies with all current policies and municipal bylaws. We are communicating with the building owner and the municipality to identify options which may provide additional parking for staff at the Pay Centre." 

Union representatives from the Government Services Union and Local 60011 said the parking situation was causing stress for staff. 

Parking pass 

Pay centre management will oversee the assignment of the temporary parking spots at the arena to those who need it. When staff members are identified, the list will be provided to the city. 

"Those folks will be asked to sign our terms and agreement and will be assigned a parking pass for the LBA," Lordon said.

Private company Indigo looks after the parking lots at the Miramichi Pay Centre, which can only be used by permit holders. (Gail Harding/CBC)

Those assigned a spot will not be able to use it if the arena is being used for events. Lordon said there will be some blackout days, and the parking lot has to be vacated in the evenings during the spring hockey season. 

The city plans to keep the temporary parking lot in place until a planned pay-per-use parking lot is built by Mount St. Joseph Nursing Home on vacant land it owns on Victoria Avenue, adjacent to the pay centre.

Lordon said the 105-space parking lot should be open during the summer.

But this still leaves about 200 staff members without permanent parking. Lordon said the city will take a leadership role and work with the pay centre and union and local business community to find solutions. 

"We're very sympathetic to this issue and that it's caused a lot of stress." 

Street parking ban in effect

Staff have been encouraged to carpool, use city transit, walk or bike to work. But Lordon said he realizes not all employees have that option. 

Lordon said a city bylaw that bans parking on streets near the pay centre will remain in effect. 

Staff who weren't lucky enough to get a parking spot in the pay centre's parking lot have to find spots on a nearby street. (Gail Harding/CBC)
"It's a new bylaw so at this point and, recognizing the situation here, there is some leniency. Warnings are being issued at this point and we can foresee in the short-term future that will continue." 

Lordon said when more parking becomes available, the city will shift to enforcement. 

"We're looking at this as buying a bit of time to sit down with everybody, with all the stakeholders to be able to put our heads together to come up with long-term solutions. By the time we get through the summer we should be in a position where everybody should be accommodated."