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O’Leary turning parking complaints over to Mounties

["The signs going into O'Leary, in western Prince Edward Island, may soon need to change. The community is looking at changing to town status."]

Anyone attending events at the O’Leary Community Sports Centre and Maple Leaf Curling Club might want to avoid parking on the south side of Main Street.

O’Leary Town Council has asked the RCMP to enforce the parking ban on that side of the street.

The south side parking ban – the side of the street that the two sports facilities are on – extends from the United Church corner to the town’s Knutsford boundary.

Councillors acknowledged they’ve been getting complaints from residents about the congestion.

Coun. Darren MacKinnon said vehicles cannot meet on Main Street when vehicles are parked on both sides. Sometimes the cars park on the sidewalk to allow more clearance for through traffic, but MacKinnon said that leads to problems for pedestrians.

“The largest concern is the availability to be able to have traffic meet in that area,” MacKinnon said.

Recently, a combination of hockey and figure skating events at the rink and a major bonspiel at the curling club had parking lots overflowing, and area residents had clearly had enough.

“The parking signs are there. We put them up. They’re not being respected, but the only thing to do is call the Mounties.”

- Coun. Kevin Maynard

RCMP Staff Sgt. Derrick Hewitt, who attended the monthly council meeting, suggested the issue should be an easy fix.

“The traffic, I can take care of, because I will get it out to my members and get them working on it.”

Darrel Wood, who is the police and fire committee chairman on council and a part-time employee at the rink, acknowledged the parking issue came up for discussion at the O’Leary Fire Department’s monthly meeting, with firefighters pointing out the congestion is a safety concern when emergency vehicles need to pass through.

Coun. Kevin Maynard, who is a firefighter, said the parking issue is one for the police to deal with.

“We have signs up; we can’t go out there and patrol the streets ourselves.”

There are plenty of other parking lots to use, but people might have to walk a little to get to the sports venue, Maynard said

“The parking signs are there. We put them up. They’re not being respected, but the only thing to do is call the Mounties.”

Council expressed a willingness to work with the venues to see if parking solutions can be arranged with other locations in town.

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