Leased land not fit for unpaved parking: city

Andrew Robinson
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Resident says downtown property used by motorists for 25 years

Landowner Robert Yetman is shown alongside his property on the corner of Springdale and New Gower streets in downtown St. John’s. He wants to rent the space for parking, but because it is not paved, he says the City of St. John’s won’t permit him to use it for that purpose. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

A St. John’s resident thinks a piece of land that could accommodate 70 parked vehicles should be used for that purpose, and says the City of St. John’s is hindering his efforts to do so.

However, a spokeswoman for the city tells The Telegram that Brian Walsh has not taken the necessary steps to do so.

The property, located at 43 Springdale St. intersecting New Gower Street, is owned by Manga Hotels but was leased last November to Walsh in an agreement signed at that time, with the understanding he could rent interim parking spaces to motorists until Manga was ready to build on the site.

What about unpaved lot at Bowring Park?

“That parking lot has been there 25 years,” said Walsh. “We didn’t need a permit before when J.B. Hand had the building there (a vacant warehouse).”

According to the city, Walsh needs to pave the area and ensure controlled drainage is in place, as required under current development regulations.

The city spokeswoman said Walsh has not put an application in with the city, as he was required to by the owner of the property, in order to obtain the necessary permits.

She said the owner has since agreed to have the area fenced off so it can not be used for temporary parking.

Walsh, however, contends interim downtown parking, such as that which he is proposing on Springdale Street, does not require paving.

“People are calling me all the time from the Cabot Building and everywhere. They have no parking downtown, and they can’t understand why this is closed. I can’t either.”

The spokeswoman said the city is looking at drafting standards for interim parking lots on vacant land in the downtown area, adding those standards will include paving as a requirement. Establishing such standards is a recommendation of the Downtown St. John’s Parking Study, which has not been approved by council.

Details on proposed amendments to the city’s municipal plan and development regulations on parking in the downtown area were shared at a public meeting held May 8 at city hall.

Amendment 18 refers to establishing “applicable standards” for “interim parking lots” in downtown St. John’s, though it does not elaborate on what those standards would entail.

Since Manga will eventually build on the property, Walsh said it makes no sense for him to pave it.

“A building is going there in two years’ time, so they should never have shut down that lot until the building went there.”

He also wonders why he cannot operate an unpaved parking lot in downtown St. John’s when an unpaved parking lot is already used in Bowring Park.

An unpaved area across from the Gaze Seed gardening store on Buchanan Street was also blocked off at the city’s request, according to Walsh. That property is own by John Steele, according to Walsh and Gaze Seed owner Robert Yetman.

“Here it is, vacant land, and they can’t park on it,” said Yetman, who added the lot has been used for parking for at least 30 years.

Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Manga Hotels, Cabot Building

Geographic location: New Gower Street, Springdale Street, Buchanan Street

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Bill
    June 01, 2012 - 10:30

    Pouch Cove seems to have an axe to grind and grasps at all kinds of straws to grind it. Mr. Walsh says he had a written contract with Manga and the reporter wrote this fact. One must assume that a reporter of the Telegram would check his facts. A Leaseholder is entitled to make money or any other enjoyment of property. "Craig Halliday" has made libellous comments when he implies that money is "under the table." "I Agree" suggests that providing the parking service is somehow not a "real" job. How elitist! This is an example of a double standard by City Hall. It operates several unpaved lots: Goulds, Bowring Park and Mews Center and perhaps many others. Are favoured business people now able to charge higher rates for their lots?

  • Pouch Cove
    May 31, 2012 - 06:58

    @Joe there is no animosity here just plain good old fashioned facts. Mr. Walsh can not apply for a permit with the city because 1. he doesn't own the property and has no written agreement in place to conduct a business on this parcel of land with Manga Hotels and 2. the owner(Manga Hotels) of this land does not want a parking lot on this property hence the erection of the fence to keep him off the land. The city can't approve a permit for someone who has no ownership to the land. This man is running a business on Private Property plain and simply. Mr. Walsh needs to find another land owner who is interested in partnering up with him and running a valid business with him and apply for the necessary permits to run an above board business.

  • I agree
    May 30, 2012 - 21:45

    I agree with Pouch Cove,get the other side of the story Mr,Robinson before you print,you can,t even get the photo right this is not Robert Yetman.I don,t agree with a lot that comes from the city hall,but I know one thing I would not park my car and have this man in the photo to watch it.I value my property all to much.Yes craig iI agree pay taxes Mr Walsh like the rest of us.This is something you see young 12 and 13year olds do,like at the old stadium trying to make a few dollars,maybe it's time to get a real job.

    May 30, 2012 - 21:17

    I always parked here, it was convenient because I didn't have to waste time looking for somewhere to park. I think it is a big disappointment that the city would not allow this for their own citizens and that whoever is in charge of parking services should lighten up.

  • craig halliday
    May 30, 2012 - 14:26

    Anyone at Revenue Canada keeping an eye on this guy's cash'n dash? This guy is making a big deal over this because he is out under the table cash .Well join the rest of us taxpayers. City has a job to keep order and if we all pay a little we keep getting service. Can we get an investigative reporter on this guy? This is just too good.

    • Joe
      May 30, 2012 - 17:46

      I've parked on this lot several times and security was present till after the events I have never had my car broken into. I think the City should have given this man a permit in the first place. I believe there is a lot of animosity on the go here,

  • Pouch Cove
    May 30, 2012 - 13:35

    Mr. Robinson, Why would you interview and publish an article when you only have one side of the story and most of it untrue. Mr. Walsh has indeed been using this parcel of land for parking but he does not have any ownership or any verbal/written in place with Manga Hotels for the use of a parking lot in terms of a lease. This land has been sold and is private property owned by Manga Hotels. The owner of Manga Hotels has expressed to Mr. Walsh that he does not want his land used for parking. Manga Hotels requested and installed the fence to keep him off his property for future use. Mr. Walsh in the past had ensured the general public while parking on this land that he was security charging a pretty fee to park on private property not owned by him lol. As soon as he makes his easy tax free money he takes off as soon as the games/events begin. Awesome! My suggestion to you Mr. Walsh is to stop your day dreaming and go find another land owner who is actual interested in entering into a valid business agreement with you for the use of a parking lot!

  • Goulds
    May 30, 2012 - 13:28

    Goulds Arena Parking lot is NOT paved !! We have to raise $$$$ to get it paved

  • AC
    May 30, 2012 - 12:38

    Suck it up and pave the lot. A proper commercial parking lot will earn big returns on that investment and it's better urban planning for these requirements to be in place.. And it's better for the downtown which needs to be kept clean to allow other industry to thrive. There's also no argument until you file an application so if the objective here is to make citizens angry because parking is a contentious issue you're wasting everyone's time suggesting that city requirements are too much of a burden economically and an obstacle when they're not. Pave the lot and make money the right way before the lease is up.

  • Eli
    May 30, 2012 - 12:07

    How dare this man question the logic of the stewards who had cost overruns of $40,000,000.00 on the harbour cleanup!

  • Park and Ride
    May 30, 2012 - 11:34

    Maybe if the metro area had an express bus system during peak hours, people wouldn't need to drive their cars downtown in the first place. Think about it, how many cars driven downtown are used by just the driver??? Imagine, if you took the Mile One stadium model, had people from Mount Pearl, CBS park their cars at the available lots (e.g. wal mart in Mount Pearl), Village Mall (who goes there anyway???) and used an express bus running every 15 minutes that carted people downtown between the hours of 7-9:30 and 4:30-6. No, that makes no sense because that would actually solve a problem and the city of St. John's has no interest in solving problems.

  • Republic-of-NL
    May 30, 2012 - 11:32

    Typical, this guy want to reap all the profits, but don't want to sink any money into it. There is so much work going on to make downtown look good- pave it or sell it!

  • Edmund
    May 30, 2012 - 09:09

    Well, like I have been saying all along, what do you expect from O'Keefe and his bunch of stooges at City Hall. I would like to see it go before council for a vote and find out what councillors support this. If they fence those lots they must fence the Bowring Park lot and others around the city with gravel. If not they are simply hypocrites and resign. Let the lot remain active and help eliminate a serious parking problem in our city. Your taxpayers deserve that.

  • Money Grab
    May 30, 2012 - 09:06

    Just a money grab for the City. Without lots like this, people will have to pay to use City Hall parking garage, park illegally and get parking tickets, or be forced to use the paid Metrobus system. When the City built MileOne they never put a taxi layby in front of the building and tacis parked along the curb anyway without harrasment. Now, the CIty is stopping taxis from doing this as just another plank in their money grab scam.

  • saelcove
    May 30, 2012 - 09:05

    sounds like we are still back in the 40,s

  • wayne
    May 30, 2012 - 08:14

    I wondered what bunch of idiots blocked the parking next the Gaze seeds ? So it was the city ! People have been parking there for decades. Way to go City Hall ....mess up the parking for a local business so people will go to Walmart to buy their seeds.......that's how you promote and help local business and keep taxes down........spend money blocking off parking and killing local business to REDUCE the taxes coming in.

  • Christopher Chafe
    May 30, 2012 - 08:02

    So let me get this straight.....the same spot of land that people have used to park at while attending events at Mile One was OK when there was a building there, but now that there is no building there its NOT OK. Give me a break!

  • Frank
    May 30, 2012 - 07:54

    The only reason they don't let him is because it may take some revenue from parking meters and tickets from expired meters. There is no other logical reason for it! Then again logic and City council are mutually exclusive!

  • al
    May 30, 2012 - 07:54

    Could it be the CITY wants to get some revenue from this.??

  • J
    May 30, 2012 - 07:32

    After moving back here from Alberta I don't have much faith in the cognitive abilities of those on city council.

    • Republic-of-NL
      May 30, 2012 - 11:35

      Stop whining and move back to Alberta.

  • Political watcher
    May 30, 2012 - 06:24

    Why is it that Municipalities can operate under a different set of rules than the average person? Not only does the City operate an unpaved lot at Bowering park, they also operate one on Mundy Pond Road across from the Mews Centre. We hear people everyday calling for parking downtown; here we have two sites that can park approx 100 cars and the City says no. If it is good for them to operate unpaved lots then it should be good for all.