Paris to get new parking lot

By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor

PARIS - Brant County councillors believe the timing is finally right to demolish a house bought decades ago by the former town of Paris next door to the Brant County OPP station and convert the property into a parking lot.

The move will ease a bit a growing shortage of parking spots in the downtown.

The corporate development committee endorsed Monday a staff recommendation to demolish a vacant house at 32 Mechanic St. and create a parking lot at an estimated cost of $90,800. Funds were earlier allocated in the 2017 budget.

Costs include $24,000 for demolition, disposal and site cleanup; $35,000 for construction of a new parking lot; and $20,000 for removal of designated substances.

Council will consider final approval on March 28.

A staff report says the lot can be used for OPP vehicles that right now are parked on adjacent streets. But the plan is even larger - the county already plans to build a new police headquarters in two years at Rest Acres and Bethel roads, making room for more parking space as all police cruisers and officers' personal vehicles will be moved out of the downtown.

Before the county's amalgamation, the former Paris council moved to acquire the residential property to make more room someday for the needs of what was then the Paris police station. But in the ensuing decades, the need for a detachment headquarters to serve the whole county led council to search for a different location outside the downtown.

A long-time tenant rented the house from the county but recently vacated it, creating an opportunity for changes, the report says.

"The timing is right to do this," Coun. Shirley Simons said. "Downtown Paris is growing and parking is at a premium. Demolishing the house and creating a lot will achieve a lot of things. Once the new police headquarters is built, a lot of parking spaces will open up after the cruisers and officers' personal vehicles move out."