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North Bay review recommends city sell downtown parking garage

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An organizational review of the City of North Bay recommends the city consider selling its downtown parking garage on McIntyre Street.

Parking garage on McIntyre Street in North Bay. May 2, 2024 (Eric Taschner/CTV Northern Ontario)

The recommendation comes from the accounting firm KPMG, which audited the city’s services.

An independent, third-party review of the city and its services was requested by council in December 2022. KPMG was awarded the contract in summer 2023.

“There's always ways that we can improve and make things better, and this really gives us that chance to map out an implementation plan,” said Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield.

As part of its recommendation that the city clarify its community safety and well-being plan, the consultant suggests the city consider divesting the garage.

Its organizational review found the downtown parking garage, which is owned and operated by the city, has faced security challenges related to homelessness in the area.

“City staff have been trying to implement some different ways of addressing the challenges that we face at the parking garage over the past number of years,” Horsfield said.

KPMG acknowledged there have been improvements to security which are under review.

“The city should perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine the long-term plan for this parking garage, as well,” KPMG senior manager Sana Malik said during Tuesday’s special committee meeting.

Horsfield said council plans to look into the option further.

“A number of individuals use it for businesses and those who live in the downtown,” she said.

“Having that strategy in that report will provide more context and that research that's going to be done into whether or not parking can be moved somewhere else. Is there a great need in that area?”

The report said that understanding the future state of the parking garage will be essential in building the city’s facilities and parking department’s strategy and business plan.

“The city has already, in the 2024 budget, allocated funds to go towards the downtown parking strategy,” Horsfield said.

“Within that downtown parking strategy, we're updating our plans of parking requirements within the downtown.”

The review finds the city has historically reviewed its parking master plan every five years but the most recent update was in 2011. 

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