Most new residential developments in Downtown Barrie are required to provide only 0.85 parking spots per unit to promote active transportation and public transportation use. This also increases the housing affordability in the area and takes into account that not all residents own cars.
However, one small business owner on Collier Street, Dr. Christy Inglis, owner of Barrie Family Chiropractic, spoke to council in opposition to the proposed bylaw amendment reducing parking requirements from one spot per unit to 0.85 spots per unit.
Inglis has owned the property since 2014 and provides space for other commercial offices, and she expressed concerns that the reduction in parking would significantly impact her business and the other four businesses that operate in her building.
She noted that the elimination of free parking on the street has already had an impact on her business, and she was worried that the reduction in parking spaces with the new development would further impede their ability to operate. “We’ve survived the pandemic, all five of us, and I would like to survive further in Barrie and still be able to offer commercial space at reasonable rates,” she said, expressing her opposition to the amendment of a reduced parking requirement. “I’m happy to have that lovely apartment building next door.”
Director of Transit & Parking Strategy Brent Forsyth told council that in the future there will be more reliance on the municipal parking system and the City needs to retain the parking supply to support the growth in the downtown.
Council plans to reevaluate the impact reduced parking will have on businesses in the downtown vicinity.