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District of Clearwater council discusses line painting at Dutch Lake

The new line painting saw a lot of feedback from residents
New lines painted near Dutch Lake have caused confusion for many Clearwater and area residents, while others approve of the changes. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

After hearing feedback from the community about changes made around Dutch Lake, District of Clearwater staff went back to the drawing board to bring suggestions to council to address resident concerns.

Though two options were provided during the community and economic development and infrastructure committee meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 16, council ultimately decided they wanted a third that allowed the District to utilize what’s already there and improve it.

The first option eliminates parking along the shoulder but would add 33 parallel parking stalls along Old North Thompson Highway Road after the lake entrance. The second option also takes away shoulder parking but instead adds 51 angled parking stalls. Both options have the potential to incur additional costs as the initial project was grant funded. Or, council could decide to do nothing.

The options brought to council also included removing parking from the shoulders and incline near Dutch Lake park, adding parking from Dutch Lake to the overflow near 37 E, increasing the traffic lane widths and adding traffic calming measures in the area.

Coun. Bill Haring noted the project had gone through a public hearing and received support before being approved. The problem, he said, was the lack of communication from the District when the project was ready to complete.

“There’s no signs and I think we didn’t communicate fully that it was happening,” he said. “People drove up surprised…now you can see everybody’s parked off to the side in what we anticipated would be the walking lane, because there’s no sign there.”

Coun. Haring added he’s received a lot of positive feedback, however, especially from parents with young kids. His concern with the proposed options was they took away parking from the lake and moved it further down the road, forcing families to have to walk that much farther.

“I prefer to proceed with neither of these, mostly because we already spent the money,” said Coun. Haring. “We had someone work the design, we had public consultation, I think we can tweak what we have now and spend significantly less money, as long as those bylaws are being met.”

Increased signage in the area was supported by multiple councillors.

Chief administrative officer John Thomas said there were a few concerns that may need to be addressed, such as the size of parking areas for larger vehicles and visibility issues when coming out of the parking lot.

A recommendation was presented to council to accept the first option and to amend the appropriate bylaw, which would be brought to the next meeting in September. Coun. Barry Banford moved the recommendation, though it failed.

Coun. Haring proposed an alternative recommendation, that the District explore how the current line painting could be tweaked and utilized. Those suggestions would then be brought to the Trails Task Force to discuss further.

Coun. Sim agreed and noted that the District needs to be more intuitive of how the spaces are being used.

Council directed staff to return with a third option to realign the space as is at the next regular council meeting to be discussed further.

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