Sandra Gault had no idea that parking would become such a headache when she bought her condo in Sole on KLO a couple of years ago.
She bought a top-floor unit with a big sundeck and a great view in the complex that was then under construction across from Okanagan College.
It came with its own designated parking spot. But she didn’t think to ask about visitors parking.
“I wouldn’t have thought to even ask when it was under construction,” she told iNFOnews.ca. “There was a large parking lot alongside our building and behind. I thought, 'oh, there’s visitors parking.'”
That was in December 2018. When she was the first to move into the building the following August she noticed a fence going up blocking off access to that parking lot.
“I was kind of dumbfounded by that,” Gault said.
It didn’t take long for the small entrance road to plug up as others moved in.
“You’re moving in, you’re unloading your vehicle and going back and forth and there are vehicles parked all over the place,” Gault said. “Even to get in and out of the garage is extremely tight and, often, someone will leave a vehicle along the fence because there is no other place to park. That blocks the garage. That blocks the garbage room.”
The problem is the complete lack of visitor’s parking in the 54-unit complex.
The closest alternative street parking is blocks away or in the neighbouring apartment complex where they get towed.
“Friends won’t come to visit,” Gault said. “I have a number of friends who are disabled, who have MS and use walkers and canes. My mother can’t walk five blocks from Casorso to the building.”
She’s got notes from Canada Post saying they can’t deliver a parcel because there’s no place to park.
“People are yelling at each other, parking all over the place, in the grass in front of the building, blocking the sidewalk,” Gault said. “Friends don’t even want to pick me up at the building because they’re afraid of getting blocked in. It’s frustrating and it's maddening.”
Gault quit the strata council after getting too many parking complaints from residents. In June she decided to sell but can’t find a buyer.
She gave the example of one man who loved the place and the price for his daughter but walked away when he realized there was no place for him to park when he came for a visit.
She and her mother have lobbied city councillors trying to find solutions to no avail.
"Where was the error made?” Gault asked. “Was the error made in how the idea of the building was sold to city council? Did the planning department make an error? Did the builder make the error?”
The city is not taking responsibility.
The land was rezoned and a development permit issued in 2017 and 2018.
The zone required 40 parking stalls for residents, six for visitors and one commercial. The developer – Edgecombe Builders Group – asked that the residential parking stalls be cut to 28 because many of the small suites would likely be sold to people who would not have cars.
The city agreed. But, in the process, the requirement for six visitor stalls was also cut to three spots that were not actually designated for visitors.
There are two outdoor parking stalls at Sole on KLO. One is for the operator of a bakery that operates on site and the other is used for a MODO car pool vehicle that is available for non-residents as well as residents of the building.
The only legally available spot to park is the disabled stall inside the locked parkade. It’s used by the handyman, groundskeeper and others.
The handyman threatened to quit after being yelled at by a resident for using that spot, Gault said.
Handicapped parking is not restricted to that use only, city planning specialist Adam Cseke told iNFOnews.ca
“That stall was always designated as a visitors stall,” he said. “That’s how it showed on the plans. From the staff’s perspective, there has been a visitor’s stall. They (strata council) are just not using it as a visitor stall.”
He puts the blame, therefore, not on the city or on the developer but on the strata council for not finding a way to allow visitor access to that one stall inside the locked parkade.
The sad reality for residents like Gault is that there are 54 units in the building and not a single readily available parking spot anywhere on site for visitors.
When iNFOnews.ca dropped by to take a look, there were two vehicles parked in the loading zone in front of a no parking sign
The city has changed its policy that allowed Edgecombe to pay $7,500 cash in lieu of the parking stalls it didn’t build and allowed the company to also reduce the number of visitor stalls.
That money will go towards a parkade that may, someday, be built in the South Pandosy area but not likely to benefit the Sole on KLO residents.
It will now cost $33,000 per resident stall that isn’t built so developers may be less inclined to cut down on resident parking.
But, there is still no explanation as to why the city thought that, just because all the residents didn’t have cars, that their visitors wouldn’t either.