Parking at Brock University will never be a dream come true, but it will certainly lose its nightmarish status next year if the university implements suggestions from a recent parking task force report. “There aren’t any recommendations that could not become a reality,” says Tom Arkell, chair of the Task Force on Parking and Transportation, and director of community services at Brock. However, he points out, “One of the big ones is the rebuilding of the parking lots.”
“We can’t please everyone,” says Donald Delaney, campus police chief. He says there is “a lot of infrastructure involved in the construction of new lots and it is clear to us that present parking fees need to increase.”
The rapid growth of the university initiated the organization of the task force at Brock. It was comprised of students, faculty, staff, campus police and a professional consultant who worked together to assess both parking and transportation concerns on campus.
It has yet to be decided however, what implementing these recommendations will cost.
“At this point in time, I don’t have any specific costs,” says Steven Pillar, Brock vice-president of finance and administration. “We are in the middle of doing that work.”
Pillar says figuring out construction costs before going to the board is part of their process, adding, “I would think that in the next month we would have something firmer.”
Among the possible solutions set out in the final report are constructing another campus entrance on Merritville Highway, offering more convenient parking spaces to visitors, and making more parking spaces available. Other recommendations include a university subsidized universal bus pass adding more than $100 to tuition, and lobbying the regional government to supply a regional transportation system.
“We are still at the stage,” says Pillar, “where we are asking for feedback from the university community on the recommendations brought forward.”
“It will be interesting to see the feedback,” says Delaney. “Hopefully in early April, some decisions will be made about the recommendations.”
The goals of the task force include reducing the amount of new parking needed while ensuring that sufficient parking is provided on campus, promoting public transportation, walking, and cycling to get to Brock, and creating parking close to the Regional Niagara Public Health Department, on the east side of campus.
The report considered both present and future concerns, but Arkell says there are still many unknowns. “These recommendations have brought us a long ways, but there will still be future issues.”
He says the success of the bus pass referendum and the amount of people who choose to drive next year are just two implications that may arise.
The task force hopes the recommendations will not only benefit Brock students, but the greater Niagara community, as well.
“The goal of the university is to meet or exceed the public’s expectations,” says Arkell. “We want to bring the standards up.