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Estevan Village boom residents' bane

Retail employees, school staff contribute to parking woes

The success of Estevan Village retailers, coupled with limited parking at Willows school, has become the bane of existence for nearby residents.

A dozen people protested about the situation to Oak Bay council last week, saying it’s so bad they sometimes have difficulty leaving their homes.

They were supporting neighbour Dave Pettenuzzo’s request – he and his family live at 2495 Estevan Ave. – that residential-only parking signs be installed on the street.

Lise Hiscock, who lives at 2425 Musgrave St., said friends who visit have to compete for parking because so many Estevan retail employees park on her street.

Daniel Blades is co-owner of The Village restaurant at 2518 Estevan Ave. In the past year the restaurant has seen a revenue increase in “the high single digits, about nine percent,” he said. And three new businesses in the village have brought new customers in, he added.

Adding to the congestion is the fact Willows elementary doesn’t have enough parking for staff, Musgrave Street resident Michael Yakubowich said.

For a staff of 40, the school has only 14 parking spaces on its property. Oak Bay’s director of engineering, Dave Marshall, noted the school’s recent $9-million renovation failed to include improved parking at the site.

Funding for Willows’ seismic upgrade didn’t allow for added parking spots, said School District 61 facilities director Seamus Howley. He doesn’t see the situation changing anytime soon, despite the fact it means staff are forced to park on the street.

“That’s not unusual. It’s been that way for a long time,” he said.

Mayor Christopher Causton made it clear he doesn’t like the idea of residential-only signage being installed on Musgrave Street, or anywhere else in the municipality.

“Those signs are all around Victoria and I hate them. Streets don’t belong to residents, they belong to everyone,” he said.

Council batted around a variety of solutions. They included putting two-hour parking restrictions on the street to installing a roundabout at the five-corner intersection of Estevan, Musgrave, Hamiota Street and Thompson Avenue.

Council ultimately approved a motion by Coun. Tara Ney that Oak Bay staff arrange and participate in a meeting between residents, school officials and business leaders to look at possible solutions.