Galgay, councillors argue over Quidi Vidi parking

Daniel MacEachern
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Mallard Cottage owner counters councillor who says restaurant should have more parking

A St. John’s chef says he’s not aware of any parking problems around his Quidi Vidi restaurant — and he wishes a city councillor had spoken to him before raising the issue at Monday’s meeting.

Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay speaks at Monday’s
St. John’s city council meeting.

Ward 2 Coun. Jonathan Galgay said Monday at city council’s regular meeting that the previous administration displayed “poor judgment” when it allowed Mallard Cottage to open with just two parking spaces, fewer than a restaurant of its size would normally require.

“This issue now has escalated into patrons of the Mallard Cottage parking in private, residential driveways, leaving them there for up to 24 hours at a time,” he said. “It’s restricting the public from accessing the Quidi Vidi Village plantation. It’s having an impact on other businesses in the area.”

Galgay, who said he’s meeting today with Quidi Vidi residents, said they’re being “verbally abused” and that the RNC has been involved.

“The previous council exercised poor judgment, in my personal opinion,” said Galgay.

Many of those who were members of the previous council bristled at Galgay’s accusation.

“I’ll give you a fight on that,” said Mayor Dennis O’Keefe.

Coun. Tom Hann said council at the time allowed the parking exemption to save a historic building that was being restored by the proprietors.

“I resent the intimation that the previous council made a mistake,” he said. “If we hadn’t made that decision, nobody knows what would happen to the future of one of the oldest buildings in the province.”

Mallard Cottage owner and head chef Todd Perrin said Monday night he hasn’t heard of residents having a problem with his customers.

“We haven’t had any significant conversations with any of the local residents about parking issues,” said Perrin.

He added that the owner of a pub across from Mallard Cottage has spoken to him a couple of times about restaurant patrons parking in the pub parking lot, but other than that he hasn’t heard of any residents having problems, and he wishes Galgay had spoken to him before bringing it up at the meeting.

“He didn’t say anything to us. I haven’t spoken to Coun. Galgay about this at all, so it was a bit of a surprise to me to hear that it was being bandied about in council chambers without him speaking to us about it, at least to get our take on the situation, just as you’re doing,” said Perrin, who pointed out he’s not just the owner of a business in Quidi Vidi Village, but a resident as well. “I have to say I’m a bit disappointed in that. We’ve tried to do what we can to mitigate the parking situation down there. We don’t have a parking lot, and frankly I’m a believer that the last thing that Quidi Vidi Village needs is a big parking lot down in the middle of it.

Deputy Mayor Ron Ellsworth said the priority should be to determine if there is a problem with parking — and if so, how extensive it is — and not point fingers at previous administrations.

Coun. Danny Breen suggested city staff study the area.

O’Keefe told The Telegram Galgay should have checked with city staff about the problem before criticizing the previous council.

“If there is an issue revolving around parking, what we need to do first is find out, one, if there is a serious issue; two, if there is, how extensive is it; and three, once we know that, then we can deal with it sensibly and properly.”

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Geographic location: Vidi, Quidi Vidi Village

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Recent comments

  • david
    February 27, 2014 - 18:21

    It's heartening to see two things here: that several people (including some in municipal government) think it's just fine that some citizens can have their property rights completely overridden and sacrificed to accommodate a minor commercial operation, and that some think the expropriation of private property is a perfectly acceptable power to be inflicted by government. And this is apparently the higher educated portion of the island. Fascinating.

  • Kathy Foley
    February 26, 2014 - 08:46

    Whenever Heritage and Tourism are designed for that and not for the quality of life of neighborhoods, people will lose. Yes, it's an old house. yes, it's gorgeous. But what restauranteur would accept that they had only two of their own spots? The chef is a resident, ok., he saved the building, but at whose cost? Traditionally, in Newfoundland, when a house had outlived its functioning it was simply torn down. How is this restaurant with two parking spots good for the neighborhood residents? It is not always wise in heritage or tourism to ignore quality of life for residents but that is the pattern in this city.

  • Hooked up
    February 26, 2014 - 05:47

    No one has mentioned that there are 2 owners of mallard cottage, Todd Perrin and Steve Lee, Steve's uncle is none other than doc o' Keefe. Coincidence?

    • david
      February 27, 2014 - 18:33

      Didn't know that. That certainly makes this worthy of at least some investigation. At least it would in a civilized place with actual rule of law. Here, any attempt at fact-finding would be met with: "Ah grow up, you're all just jealous, you bunch of sooks!" And that would be that...if it ever got even that far.

  • Kim
    February 25, 2014 - 21:09

    The owner of the restaurant could provide valet parking service to his customers. The valet is an employee of the restaurant. The customers don't have to walk - just go to the front door and drop off the car while it is parked by the valet. At the end of the meal, the car is retrieved by the valet. This eliminates any customers parking in neighbours' driveways or at the Inn across the street. Or receiving parking tickets! It eliminates guests having to walk too far, and is considerate of those who may be elderly or handicapped. The cost of hiring an additional employee would probably be quickly made up by the increase in restaurant attendance and reduction in negative media attention.

  • Dolf
    February 25, 2014 - 18:40

    Did Galgay take bullshit lessons from Steve Kent?

    • Guy Incognito
      February 26, 2014 - 10:46

      Interesting how the word bullshit is now an acceptable term since our lord and savior King Danny uttered it......

    • Dolf
      February 26, 2014 - 13:44

      Haul a paper bag over Galgay's head and you hear Kent. Either one & all you get is bullshit.

  • fellow
    February 25, 2014 - 16:50

    I love this, People complain when these big chains come into the city, and all the profits flow outwards, providing just a few min wage jobs.. but the minute that a couple of people from st johns try and do something local with some actual character people don't stop... a previous poster already stated that the exception was issued because theres municipal parking across the st. Galgay is just looking for more TV time... its a shame that the city with the most character in all of Canada is just becoming another Metro..

  • Anna
    February 25, 2014 - 12:38

    If we had more councillors like Mr. Galgay this city wouldn't be in such a mess. The last five or six condo buildings downtown, I've read where Council is going to let the business owner pay more taxes in lieu of parking. We have that huge restaurant downtown with no parking set aside for that . I know there is a parking garage under construction but there is already a shortage of parking and with the restaurant having a capacity for over 300 diners, where are these parking spots going to come from? This is why I voted for new people on council, Mr. Lane, Mr. Galgay and Mr. Davis. Too bad more people didn't do the same.

  • M
    February 25, 2014 - 11:53

    Commentator, How dare you let facts get in the way of a good old fashioned lynching/conspiracy theory.

  • hslaw
    February 25, 2014 - 11:44

    to Kristy. I guess both my daughter and I can park at the mall and use the new and improved transport system but I don't now if the public system can carry two wheelchairs. Then again I can use the go bus system and spend , seeing as I am not in the system. approx. 150.00 to get to and from. Naaaa I rather be able to park there Thank you very much

  • Commentator
    February 25, 2014 - 10:28

    Just to clarify, the reason that the Mallard Cottage was given an exemption to the city parking regulations is that the city just built a new lot at the Plantation across the road, which patrons are expected to use. Not to say there aren't parking challenges, but it was discussed in the process of giving the go-ahead

  • Blair
    February 25, 2014 - 10:24

    Municipal "Planning" is absent here.

  • Brian
    February 25, 2014 - 10:08

    Is it true that the city issues parking tickets for the vehicles of the restaurant patrons? I guess that there are serous parking issues related to the restaurant and the council are getting revenue from the parking problems that they failed to address .

  • Mark D
    February 25, 2014 - 09:20

    TV chef and backing from Great Big Sea singer. Parking was not on anyone's mind when city council and officials are lost in the glow of celebrity.

  • Kidy Vidi
    February 25, 2014 - 09:10

    Not sure why but every time I hear Galgay speak I hear MHA Kent 's voice too. Same kind of goodie two shoe brand feel about 'em. Anyway the owner of the restaurant said on the radio today he knew nothing of a meeting today with residents to discuss the matter so - "it makes me wonder"

  • Marshall Art
    February 25, 2014 - 08:57

    A restaurant with two parking spaces ? What's this, another Newfie joke ? . The owner expects people to walk or get taxis ?. Sure by', the RNC might even be needed for crowd control. lol.

  • Steve
    February 25, 2014 - 08:53

    I have never seen a new councillor in St. John's try to get attention on himself like Galgay. Everyday you see him try to be the voice of something or get his mug stuck on tv.

    • Guy Incognito
      February 25, 2014 - 10:40

      are you confusing him with "Snow Bank" O'Keefe? Doc is the one I see in the headlines every day. Why anyone would value his opinion is beyond me.....

  • NC
    February 25, 2014 - 08:51

    I've been at Mallard Cottage, and it was fantastic. That being said, the parking situation is HORRIBLE. I anticipated this and was dropped off at the restaurant. I feel bad for the residents nearby. At least one resident phoned the restaurant to complain while we ate there saying someone was parked in their driveway. I agree that the restaurant is great, and it should be open; however, WHY wasn't parking addressed in the approval? Galgay, you are right on the money here. Keep up the good work.

    February 25, 2014 - 08:29


  • guy incognito
    February 25, 2014 - 07:47

    "A St. John’s chef says he’s not aware of any parking problems around his Quidi Vidi restaurant" You mean a business owner doesn't want to bring negative attention to his business?? Do tell...... "The previous council exercised poor judgment, in my personal opinion” Wouldn't be the first time Doc and friends have exercised poor judgement......go for it Galgay...this geriatric council needs to be questioned.....

  • Skipper Ring
    February 25, 2014 - 07:44

    The solution to the parking problems down at Quidi Vidi Village are simple to resolve. Council just needs to buy the former Fishermans Loft restaurant site, flatten it and build a proper parking lot adjacent to the harbour. The lot would be used by Village tourists, restaurant patrons, Plantation patrons and rwesidnets alike.

    • guy incognito
      February 25, 2014 - 07:49

      Why should the taxpayer pay for a parking lot for private business?

    • Skipper Ring
      February 25, 2014 - 09:03

      guy incognito....Council has the power to expropriate plain and simple. Buy the land, re-develop the property as a public parking lot and set-up a pay station for parking there. Cleanest way to do it, and tax payers are not left holding the bag for the costs. It a win win revenue genrator plus it solves the parking problem down there.

    • So
      February 25, 2014 - 12:32

      So who pays to develop the lot til they can get money back from the pay station ... taxpayers.

  • Steve
    February 25, 2014 - 07:34

    There should be an arrangement where any resident of Quidi Vidi or the owner of the Inn of Olde, if they find that someone unknown to them has parked in their spot, they should be able to call 311 and have it towed immediately. Mallard Cottage should be able to continue to operate, but there should be zero tolerance on this issue. If people want to go there, they can take a taxi. In the evening, customers can park at the Quidi Vidi Plantation, a city-owned facility that has a parking lot which is not used at that time.

  • Chavy Chaverson
    February 25, 2014 - 07:29

    Yes. We really need a "study" to determine that there is inadequate parking in Quidi Vidi Village for a restaurant. I have your study: Every city councillor make a 8pm reservation for Saturday night and drive there.

    • Excellent
      February 25, 2014 - 08:48

      Excellent idea. Nothing beats experience for seeing a problem.

    • Steve
      February 25, 2014 - 08:58

      I have only been to that restaurant once, and coincidentally, it was at 8PM on a Saturday night. I had no trouble parking in the parking lot for the Quidi Vidi Plantation, which is city owned, and closed in the evenings.

  • Robert
    February 25, 2014 - 07:13

    Well at least the topic of inadequate parking has come to council's attention. Now if we could only focus on downtown St. John's where there are real parking problems! And sadly only getting worse!

  • Dee
    February 25, 2014 - 06:58

    The owner says the last thing they need is a big parking lot,well sir in my opinion if you cannot provide parking for your bussiness then you should not have been given a permit to run one.I agree with Galgay obvious he had someone in council on his side" maybe his own uncle"As you know thats how things are ran in the downtown and other Historic areas it's who you know wether you get a permit or not.

  • Kent
    February 25, 2014 - 06:40

    Stick to your guns Galway.. You are absolutely right. Don't mind that pretentious wind-bag, Councilor Hann or O'Keefe. These two think they are a couple of movie stars. They love playing up to the camera. The previous Council did make a mistake. Quidi Vidi Village is congested enough without adding a business that cannot even accommodate parking for its own patrons. Meanwhile, those living around it have to suffer the consequences. Hann's argument about the cottage being historic is immaterial. Mallard Cottage isn’t exactly the Louvre. It caught fire twice and was decrepit in the first place. Now what? They are going to study the issue? They should have studied it before they made this stupid decision. Now taxpayers will pay thousands for what everyone anticipated long before-hand; parking is an issue for that business and the lack of it directly impacts its neighbors.

  • Don
    February 25, 2014 - 06:38

    I've been to the restaurant once and won't be back. We came out after eating and we all had parking tickets. We won't be going back.

    • Kristy
      February 25, 2014 - 08:47

      Perhaps those who wish to dine at Mallard Cottage could try alternative modes of transportation to get there. Or park by the lake where it is public and free and I don't know, walk the 5 minutes it takes to get to the cottage from there? The problem isn't lack of parking it's people insisting they have the right to drive their car to the front door of anywhere they wish and park. This same attitude applies to downtown St. John's and it's a shame. How about instead of whining about lack of parking we insist on improved public transportation. I'm happy to see the cottage restored, it's a beautiful tribute to the culture of Quidi Vidi oppose to another tasteless suburban inspired house going up. Leave your cars at home or park them a bit farther away than directly in front of the cottage and enjoy some fresh air on your way to dinner. Is that so bad?

    • Jay
      February 25, 2014 - 10:37

      Kristy, Or perhaps they could go elsewhere. You don't go to a restaurant just for food. If that were the case, you could stay home and cook. It's up to the owner to provide the proper atmosphere. If that includes adequate parking, then he should provide it, or be stuck with the consequences. Other posters are quite correct, council decisions are made on the whims of the councillors. Criteria is, more often than not, ignored when decisions are made, and knowing somebody is very important to get a decision in your favour. And Doc and Hann only want to hear themselves speak.

  • Joe
    February 25, 2014 - 04:28

    So the bench warmers on the previous Council don't think they made a poor decision. When have they made a good decision? On a recent CBC call in show Hann was crowing about new Canadians coming to the city, when a caller who works with new citizens stated that they loose 70% of new comers to the mainland after they get citizenship. Talk about clueless!