A parking garage and a pedestrian bridge over the trainyards are among the downtown parking solutions being considered by Sudbury city council.

A staff report debated Tuesday suggests a bridge over to the Energy Court lots off Lorne Street— which currently has 218 spaces, could take 180 more and maybe even host a parking garage—could cost about $3 million.

This idea has been floated before and was rejected by CP Rail, but staff say there is some initial interest from the railroad.

A 250- spot parking garage, with a pricetag of around $9 million, has been on the city's downtown wishlist for years.

Some smaller solutions were suggested as well, including turning some vacant city land behind the N'Swakamok Friendship Centre on Pine Street into a 40-space parking lot at a cost of $40,000.

City councillor Fern Cormier, whose Ward 10 covers much of the downtown, called on staff to start moving some of these plans closer to reality. 

Fern Cormier clapping

Ward 10 Greater Sudbury city councillor Fern Cormier (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

"It is a bit imperative that we do this, with the activities we're pursuing on a go forward basis. It's one of those things I'm a bit worried about letting it hang out there," he said.

The city is planning to build a new art gallery, library and convention centre in the downtown in the coming years, with a location search on right now.

At the same time, it is expected to lose 90 spots if the Elgin Greenway linear park goes ahead and the Place des Arts is to be built over a parking lot with 59 spaces at the corner of Elgin and Larch Streets.

In general, the report told city council that the 4,414 parking spots in downtown Sudbury aren't enough.

This reminded city councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann and others of the recent arena debate, where parking was a major factor for choosing the Kingsway location, despite the assurances from downtown boosters that there is no parking shortage in the core.

"As I was reading this, I was remembering the event centre discussion about how much parking we did have in town and how it was convenient and now all of a sudden we're looking for a building."

Staff are expected to "flesh out" some of the ideas in the report and come back with another report in December.