Concerns turn to action

Michelle
Michelle Stewart
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Town and mall owners in talks to redesign parking lot

The current design of the Labrador Mall parking lot has been identified by the Town as a safety concern following lots of complaints from residents.

Town Manager Jeff Boland has been in talks with owners of the Labrador Mall (Westcliff Group of Companies) on safety concerns around the property. The management has agreed to work with the Town of Labrador City in finding a good redesign for the entrance/exit to the mall parking lot.

The current design of the Labrador Mall parking lot has been identified by the Town as a safety concern following lots of complaints from residents.

A growing congestion of traffic, especially in around the main entrance/exit area of the mall, is posing what the Town considers a safety issue that it wants the owners to address.

Labrador City mayor, Janice Barnes, said her number one priority is with the safety of the citizens and she feels the complaints received from residents are well justified.

“Members of Council are being approached regularly by residents who are very concerned over the congestion and hazards and we felt, we must respond,” she said. “The Town has been in touch with the local mall office and in discussion with the management in Montreal on this matter.”

Town Manager Jeff Boland is working with The Westcliff Group of Companies (owners of the mall property) and said he is very optimistic everything possible will be done to resolve the safety issues that are clearly present with the current setup of the parking lot.

“I was talking to Camil Garneau of the Westcliff Group and I can only say good things about the conversation I had with him,” said Boland. “It certainly wasn’t new to him there was a problem there and I can tell you there was no hesitation or reluctance on his part when it comes to finding a good solution.”

Boland learned from the conversation with the manager, that his office had generated some possible options for redesign and forwarded (what they considered the best option) on to the Town for its perusal.

“I haven’t had a chance to study it yet, but what they suggested as an option would mean a separate entrance to the parking lot altogether for the drive thru, from Vanier,” Boland said of the concept drawing sent to him. “You would exit in the same way, but the entrance would be different. (Garneau) told me it was what they identified as the best option but asked for our input as well.”

Boland plans to study the design and current layout more carefully with Committee and is confident the cooperation with Westcliff will be very positive and Garneau will be very open to suggestions from the Town.

“We are seeing it here everyday so, I think as a municipality we would have a good sense of what will work best,” said Boland. “What they are suggesting is better than what is there, but it might not be ideal. Maybe we can come up with some options that will make the setup better.”

 

In the meantime, the town manager acknowledges there is a dire need to correct the design, as congestion is a huge problem in the area. The drive thru, he said, certainly adds to the problem and there’s a gas station very close to the entrance. He’s heard of a lot of near misses and delays in getting on the lot with traffic (at times) backed up on Vanier.

“Then this past summer they painted a line dividing the entrance into two lanes which made the situation even worse,” said Boland. “Since they put that lane there, it basically tells people, ‘if you are not in the drive thru, go on through,’ but it doubles the chance of being hit. With people trying to get down through the lot and coming out of the drive thru, it’s difficult to see the cars pulling out from behind.”

Boland said, he has observed a lot of it himself and logic tells him in that type of congestion and the close calls can easily become tragic.

 “Something definitely has to be done and I have not doubt, having talked to Mr. Garneau, management will work with us to find the best solution to this. They have acknowledged it’s not a well-designed entranceway and they are more than willing to work with us on it.”

 

Organizations: The Westcliff Group of Companies, Westcliff Group

Geographic location: Labrador, Montreal, Westcliff

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