Burlington mayor questions need for more parking at new community centre

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Published October 6, 2023 at 11:49 am

Bateman school Burlington neighbourhood residents greenspace
An aerial view of the Robert Bateman Community Centre reconversion site. The track pictured at the top will be removed.

The City of Burlington doesn’t want to add parking spaces it may not need at the old Robert Bateman High School that is being converted into a large community hub.

 

Located at 5151 New St., the conversion of the site will go through various stages and ultimately be home to Brock University. a large library and other permanent tenants as well as providing space for typical community centre usage when it is completed over the next several years.

Figuring out parking at the site is proving to be a dilemma as the current space for vehicles is limited and City officials are reluctant to take away any of the greenspace that surrounds the building.

In an interview with Khaled Iwamura of inhalton.com, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said the City will wait until the first group of tenants move into the building to see if additional parking is necessary.

According to the City’s own zoning requirements, 233 new parking spaces — double what exists now — are needed at the site.

However, the mayor said the zoning rules are outdated and what they call for may not be necessary.

“The parking projections are just that, based on projected usages on an old zoning bylaw,” the mayor said.  “We don’t know how much we need, all we know is what are zoning bylaw says.”

The mayor went on to explain that additional parking at the site may be unnecessary based on what is actually needed.

“I invite people to drive by any large mall or retail plaza and see the acres and acres of empty parking,” she said. “So we don’t want to touch greenspace  if our projections for required parking are off and have all this asphalt sitting there (empty).”

Other options include negotiating a deal with two nearby churches to use their parking spaces during weekdays. These spaces are at Pineland Baptist Church and Good Neighbour Ministries and would be used for staff and students who will attend the Brock University campus at the site.

As well, the City is in discussions with the Halton Catholic District School Board to use some of its adjacent greenspace at Ascension Elementary School to redesign the entire area for public use thus possibly freeing up some of the land behind Bateman for parking.

If parking is limited at the site, the City will also look at shuttle buses to bring users to the building.

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