The owner of a Rondeau restaurant is at odds with the municipality over parking. And he says the issue came up because he’s trying to be a good corporate citizen.
Paul Trudell, owner of Rondeau Joe’s, just east of the provincial park entrance, is irked municipal staff put up two no parking signs in front of his property recently. He knows it is illegal for people to park on the boulevard along Wildwood Line. But the signs actually impact his staff’s ability to park along the side of his property, off the boulevard, he said. And one makes it difficult to get into a laneway behind the restaurant.
“One sign essentially is blocking access to my driveway,” he said.
Trudell said there is room on his property for people to park off the boulevard.
“There’s plenty of room for people to pull up,” he said, adding staff generally are the only ones parking on his property on the Wildwood Line side.
The entrance to the restaurant is on the west side, in the parking lot. Half of the lot is municipal parking, while the other is Rondeau Joe’s parking, again on Trudell’s property.
Rondeau Joe’s staff are encouraged to park on the Wildwood Line side to open up spots in the municipal lot. Trudell said on a busy weekend, the restaurant can have as many as nine staff working at a given time.
He said he understands what the municipality is trying to do in its efforts to keep people from parking on the boulevard, too close to the roadway.
“I don’t want people parking crosswise anyway. It blocks my people in,” he said. “I caught some of my people parking that way last year. I just told them to stop.”
South Kent Coun. Trevor Thompson has been working to get Trudell and engineering personnel together to work out a solution that both parties can agree to.
“It’s a matter of trying to balance the needs of the residents in Rondeau, as well as the businesses,” he said. “Paul and I and engineering staff; we’re trying to find a way to work through this. What it comes down to now is I want to have engineering staff come out to take a look. I don’t think anybody is getting a real sense of what the issues are on the other side.”
Trudell offered a simple solution if people are not obeying the bylaws.
“If they’re parking on the street, ticket them. Don’t eliminate my parking,” he said.
Trudell said initially one no parking sign went up along his property. After he complained to the municipality, it vanished. He assumed municipal staff came and took it.
But then two more went up in its place.
Along Wildwood Line on either side of the street nearby, no other no parking signs are anywhere near as close together, let alone in front of one particular property.
Thompson sees no reason for any freestanding no parking signs on Trudell’s property, let alone two. There is a hydro pole nearby that would be a perfect home for one, in his books.
“The signs are obstructing the ability for his employees to get onto his property. Why not hammer one up on the telephone pole? We do it elsewhere all the time,” he said.
Trudell doesn’t understand why the municipality is singling him out, as nearby cottagers regularly have vehicles intruding on the boulevard.
“I’m doing my best.”
Thompson said Trudell’s driveway may be a laneway in Trudell’s mind, but it’s a mix of sand and grass so it’s not something that is obvious to others.
“It’s a laneway, but it’s not a gravel laneway,” he said.
The councillor added gravel might be a simple solution to this problem. He believes if Trudell were to put down some gravel along the Wildwood Line side of his property, it would show where his parking options lie.
“Where does the road end and where does his property begin? It’s a grey area there,” Thompson said. “With a clearly delineated parking area, that would show where to park.”
As a result of his problem with the municipality, Trudell said he recently had his lot surveyed so he knows where it ends and municipal property begins.
While Trudell said the sandy area should suffice, Thompson said it would be easier if the restaurant owner used gravel.
“If it were a cottage, yeah, just pull up on the grass. But with a business, it would give Paul the way to show that his staff aren’t parking on the boulevard,” Thompson said.