PostmediaLeigh Crescent residents Diane Day, left, and Danielle Sullivan, right, stand on Leigh Crescent in winter

Megan Gillis/Postmedia
Leigh Crescent residents Diane Day, left, and Danielle Sullivan have been complaining about the cars of employees of the nearby Canadian spy agencies clogging both sides of their narrow street to the point that plows, garbage trucks and even fire trucks are blocked.

A city councillor is taking on Canada’s intelligence agencies over its employees’ cars clogging half a dozen small streets in an east end neighbourhood.

Parking by staff of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Communications Security Establishment is being blamed for blocking access by snowplows, garbage trucks and even fire trucks along the narrowest street, Leigh Crescent.

The agencies didn’t add enough parking when the new headquarters was built on Ogilvie Road in 2012-13, Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney argued, so cars are bumper-to-bumper every weekday in a three-hour parking zone.

He canvassed Friday to tell residents that the city is banning parking along the inside edge of Leigh Crescent, where the fire hydrants are located, as a safety measure but said his advocacy won’t end there.

“We have to do something,” said Tierney, who said that he recently got a letter from the district fire chief warning fire trucks can’t navigate the street.

“We can’t just leave it the way it is. Somebody could get seriously hurt or injured and we won’t be able to do anything about it. Now we’re removing parking. What does that do? It’s probably going to transfer to a neighbouring street. It’s a real challenge.”

More than 3,000 parking tickets have been written on the six streets in the past two years.

Tierney had been talking about the problem and potential solutions with Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Bélanger, who died this summer, but said he’ll bring the issue to candidates of all parties vying to replace Belanger.

“Now we’re left with no option than to remove the parking on the inside part of the crescent but this is going to front and centre in the next byelection in Ottawa Vanier in the next 30 days when it’s called,” he said.

“Carson Grove residents want some action. Whatever the previous government did by cheaping out and not putting in enough parking, they’ve got to resolve that issue or force them to take public transportation.”

The city will monitor traffic flow after the changes but Tierney told residents to keep calling 311 to report cars that park for longer than three hours and to ask the federal candidates what they plan to do about the issue.

Two Leigh Crescent residents, retired nurses Diane Day and Danielle Sullivan, became so frustrated by the parking problem that they’ve even chalked rings around offending vehicles, getting sometimes surly responses from motorists for their trouble.

Expanding snowbanks have only made the problem worse and Leigh is already about metre narrower than surrounding streets.

“The last straw was last week when the garbage trucks couldn’t get down the street,” Day said, so the truck had to return in the evening when the street had cleared of commuters.

“Why should they have to do an extra run or be paid overtime to do the normal, routine things?”

Nor have crews been able to get access to clear drains, creating a “lake” and then a skating rink, she said. An elderly neighbour fell and the paramedics had to load him into an ambulance in the middle of the street because they couldn’t get into his driveway.

Day favours banning parking on one side of the street during weekday business hours but doesn’t want to see neighbours who have weekend visitors penalized.

“This is not solved,” neighbour Sullivan added. “The plans were two towers, they only put up one. They have the employees there, they should have provided parking.”

Leigh resident Judi Haines, who lives kitty-corner to a retirement home on Bathgate Drive, said she understands that people who work in the complex “have to park somewhere.” They’ve even left requests to rent her driveway in her mailbox.

But there just isn’t enough room on the narrow crescent and neighbouring streets.

“This is supposed to be a quiet little neighbourhood,” Haines said. “It turned into a parking lot.”

Source: National Post