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U of R parking lot under construction. Photo by Rebekah Lesko

University of Regina parking lot projects scheduled to be finished before the beginning of the fall semester are still under construction. Some university students are fully aware of the problems concerning parking availability and are getting upset.

 

“Parking has always been a huge issue at the U of R and instead of fixing the problem, they’ve decided to build more residence buildings making the problem worse than before,” said Megan Rumpel, a fourth-year track and field student.

 

With enrolment surpassing 14,000 for the 2014 school year, parking demand continues to rise. As well, with a four per cent tuition increase, students are finding parking a strain on their budgets.

 

“Parking’s awful,” education student Kelsey Wintonyk complained. “It’s ridiculous how much money we have to pay per semester,” she said.

 

Nelson Wagner, the associate vice-president (facilities management), is responsible for the projects and Parking and Transportation Services, and understands the frustrations.

 

Parking and Transportation Services at the University of Regina faced major delays due to weather, while undertaking three large parking lot projects over the summer, he said. The tasks included the refurbishment of Lot 3 and replacement of a collapsed sewer line in Lot 10.  As well, putting in a new sewer line for the residence building project affected Lot 1.

 

Wagner said throughout the summer, the several heavy rainstorms accumulated to 28 days of rain delay. Construction crews were forced to wait for the parking lots to dry up before continuing.

 

Parking and Transportation Services had students explore 12 parking at comparative universities across Canada.  The students discovered Regina is among the lowest in cost and highest in parking availability, Wagner said. “So we do extremely well among universities that we compare to. In fact, we had the lowest rates, except for one university, the University of Lethbridge,” he said.

 

“We pride ourselves in running a cost-effective and frugal operation, and we don’t spend money unless we have to and try to keep things repaired as soon as we can. But again, conditions don’t help with that. So I was very pleased to see that outcome,” Wagner said.

 

Wagner also pointed to Regina’s public transportation system, saying he understands why students, faculty and staff prefer to take a car. “Some would call us a bit of a commuter campus because we do have more people taking vehicles to work and to study,” he said.

 

Other solutions to the parking problem are the carpool program, limiting residence student parking, and creating temporary parking in Lots 17 and 18, he said.