The City of Moose Jaw is allocating $11,150 for a parking assessment to accommodate a hotel development on the zero block of River Street West. 

City council voted in favour of the parking assessment at Monday night's meeting by a slim 4-3 margin. Councillors Crystal Froese, Doug Blanc and Dawn Luhning voted against the assessment. 

The proposed development would include surface parking surrounding the hotel to meet bylaw requirements. The development will have one parking stall per room, which is over 100 parking stalls, to meet Hilton’s requirements. That is a number well over the requirement for the city so the development will meet all its requirements. 

The assessment will look at parking solutions and options to address the parking needs with the proposed hotel development and the parking demand for the Moose Jaw Events Centre. The options could include a partnership to build a parkade. 

Mayor Clive Tolley felt very strongly that the parking assessment should move ahead and made it clear that the assessment is a city initiative and did not come from the developer. 

"Currently, when you go to an event at the events centre, and I go and I contribute my $5 to youth sports and I park on the land that is currently being donated by the owners of this property who are developing the new hotel. That is not going to be available,” Tolley said. 

Froese disagreed and felt that the city had enough knowledge in-house that they didn't need to pay for a consultant. 

"I believe we already have this information internally, that our staff can actually compile something that would be legitimate with the amount of information that they know and working with the Moose Jaw Events Centre and how many events they’ve had,” Froese said. 

“There have even been times when we’ve had large events and we’ve had city bus service from the mall to bring people down and that wasn’t even utilized very well. There is that information.” 

Luhning took it a step further and felt that it is another attempt to get a parkade built downtown. 

"If anyone around this table is thinking this is just going to be a parking assessment for $11,000 this is the snowball going down the hill for all those years ago when they group that wanted the multiplex downtown insisted that we should be building a parkade as the City of Moose Jaw and I can see this is exactly where this is going,” Luhning said. 

Luhning initially put forward a motion to receive and file so that the assessment would not move forward, but it was defeated 4-3. 

The funding would be a change order for KGS Group, the city's consultants for the Transportation Master Plan, to add the parking assessment to the project. 

According to KGS, the parking assessment would address the following: 

  • A parking estimate for the new River Street hotel development over and above the hotel chain requirement. 
  • The estimated number of parking spaces required in the vicinity of the project. 
  • The estimated number of stalls needed in a new parkade. 
  • The cost to construct surface parking versus a parkade. 
  • Investigate the supply of on-street parking around the hotel. 
  • Look at the potential for shared parking onsite, using Institute of Transportation Engineers methodology. For instance, office space parking is busy during the day, while hotel parking is busy overnight. 
  • If a parkade is needed, the assessment will look to potential locations. 

Once the assessment wraps up, KGS Group will report back to the city with its findings and recommendations. 

The assessment will be funded through the city's parking reserve moderate-term investment portfolio.