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Monday, December 5, 2022
Letter: Convert former hospital to parking garage, tourism office

Dear editor:

Further to the discussions regarding the old NOTL hospital site, social distancing and Queen Street as a pedestrian mall: Can we look into the possibility of turning the hospital site into a parking garage with the larger part underground and maybe two or three levels above ground?

The street-facing sides could be done with heritage-pleasing architecture that could also house such things as tourist information, public washrooms and/or appropriate businesses?

I did suggest this back in the 1980s when they asked Queen Street businesses what could benefit them but it would take the pressure off the daily congestion of people searching endlessly for available parking.

It's also close enough for most people to walk, would add extra revenue and would free up the main street for pedestrian traffic when we get back to normal after COVID.

This also would allow for outdoor patios to remain because even post-COVID many will appreciate the space. Yes, I realize the initial expense would be high but I think it's worth considering as a long-term solution.

Niagara-on-the-Lake has a large number of restaurants and retail businesses that can support more people coming in and we all know they they are going to need all the help they can get to recover.

As well, the parking garage/tourist information building could also be a hub for a bicycle rental business, a drop-off and pickup point for the horses and carriages, as well as providing extra parking for when and if concerts come back to the Commons.

I really think there are a lot of possibilities and a great deal of potential to be had here.

Kim McQuhae