A lengthy, sometimes prickly, discussion broke out at Belleville city council Monday night during a businessman’s objections to proposed parking restrictions near his business.
Richard Courneyea of Signal Brewery objected to the proposed bylaw to restrict parking in the area of 87 River Road.
A staff report indicated there was not enough room for parking on two sides as at present. Some councillors also raised the issue of fast moving traffic in the area.
Often interrupting councillors questioning him, at one point Courneyea said the proposal had come from the mayor’s office and referred to the fact that he and the mayor had been opponents in the last election.
Councillor Garnet Thompson got to his feet calling it “out of order to discuss personal issues.”
Councillor Egerton Boyce pointed out that the “road expert said the road width is insufficient for parking on both sides…safety is paramount and we listen to our professionals.”
Boyce said, “It’s so political. I’m embarrassed.”
When asked what he wanted, Courneyea replied,”Do nothing. It’s not broken.” He outlined developing the business in the former Corby Distillery building, said it has 38 staff in just 11 months in business. He said there are 600 parking spots but there were 2,000 visitors in one weekend.
Council heard that the mayor’s office had received correspondence about the matter and sent it on to staff.
Councillor Kelly McCaw questioned the procedure, and suggested Mayor Taso Christopher might have a conflict of interest because he lived in the area.
At one point, Courneyea had this exchange with Councillor Mike Graham.
Courneyea: “I don’t know why you’re talking about this. There are more issues in the city than this parking.”
Graham: “You’re kidding.”
Courneyea: “Not kidding.”
Speaking with Quinte News following the meeting, Councillor Paul Carr pointed out there’s still an opportunity for pubic input.
Council approved the first of three possible readings of the bylaw on a recorded vote of 8 to 1, with McCaw voting against.