Worries of parking nightmares at St. Pat’s in September

st patsBluewater Health and officials at St. Patrick’s High School will be working together to create more parking spaces to ease concerns of parking nightmares next school year.

But Sarnia’s mayor says the new parking lot may not solve the problem of parking congestion in September.

Students from St. Christopher Secondary School will be moving to St. Pat’s next to the hospital in the fall as their building is renovated to accommodate all the students. That influx of students has raised concerns there is not enough parking in the already congested near the hospital.

The St. Clair District Catholic School Board and Bluewater Health already have parking agreements in the area. Now say they’re ready to build an additional 150 spaces on 62,000 square feet of green space to accommodate the students and to provide more parking for the hospital in the future . The project will include an expansion of the Norman Street lot entrance for two way traffic.

When the students return to the Rapid’s Parkway site, the hospital will take over the lot.

“We have an ambitious construction schedule and look forward to swift approval when we submit our site plan to the City of Sarnia,” said Mike Lapine, Bluewater Health’s vice president adding they hope to start construction in June and be done by August.

But Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says the new lot may not ease all the concerns. He says Hogan Pharmacy recently received a letter saying its 84 spots which were leased at the St. Pat’s lot was not being renewed. He’s concerned those patients will have to fight for a spot.

“They’re totally jammed even now,” says Bradley. “I don’t know why the school board didn’t sit down with all the concerned parties.”

Bradley will ask council Monday to convene a meeting on the issue and include other groups in the area who will be affected including the Strangway Center.

– Heather Wright