Parking restrictions near bingo hall lifted

by Phil Ambroziak

People who live near the Northern Nugget Entertainment Centre have hit the jackpot as far as available parking spaces are concerned.

During its regular meeting March 26, Meadow Lake city council approved a traffic bylaw amendment resulting in the removal of restricted parking signs in the vicinity of the downtown bingo hall. The decision came following a series of verbal requests from area residents and upon determining traffic levels at Northern Nugget were not as high as originally anticipated.

Councillor Jeff Fechter, however, did not support the amendment, believing the decision undermines the work council did to establish the bylaw in the first place.

“I feel we did so much research into this, but now we’re jumping into it again,” Fechter said. “We could likely bring it back three months from now and re-implement it – I feel uncomfortable about this.”

Councillor Annette Klassen responded by stating the original research was obviously not well done.

“Traffic has not been a problem,” she said.

“The issue we anticipated didn’t transpire,” added Mayor Gary Vidal.

In spite of this, Fechter maintained his opinion on the matter.

“I think there was enough information out there,” he said. “We did our research at that time and that is why I voted in favour of it at that time.”

Councillor Toby Esterby, who resides in the area of the bingo hall, agreed due diligence was given to the issue when originally discussed by council.

He also agreed, however, with the need to revisit council’s original decision.

“I can safely say parking has not been an issue,” Esterby remarked. “I’ve also had a conversation with the management at the bingo hall. They are going to encourage people to continue parking where they have been parking. As a resident of the area, I am satisfied. We quite correctly erred on the side of caution.”

Northern Nugget Entertainment Centre opened its doors at 315 Centre St. a year-and-a-half ago, but attendance has not reached the high numbers council and bingo hall management thought it would. Recently, several community organizations opted out of renewing their memberships with the local bingo association, although it could not be confirmed if this was because of low pay outs resulting from low attendance or for some other reason.

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