“We hope that one is all we need,” says Tracy Larkman, Administrative coordinator for the Bracebridge Business Improvement Area (BIA), of the soon-to-be-installed loading zone.

District of Muskoka council approved in late December the BIA’s proposal that will see one installed in front of the Little Black Bow at 24 Manitoba Street. Larkman says no other spots were proposed for the loading zone.

While it’s possible that a second loading zone is installed along the street, Larkman says there’s no plan yet for that to happen. She adds they would have to balance keeping enough parking spots while making sure businesses can safely receive deliveries. 

District council approved having staff amend the existing by-law that regulates and controls parking on district roads in Bracebridge, such as Manitoba. The amendment would see the words “for commercial delivery vehicles” added between the words “loading or unloading” and “for taxi stands.”

Pending any changes, which Larkman doesn’t anticipate, and further planning, the loading zone should be in place by the spring. She explains signage will be installed and lines will be painted to make it clear where the two loading spots are.

“There’s always a mixed review when it comes to loading zones,” Larkman says. 

The recommendation from staff will result in two of the 77 parking spots along Manitoba being removed. “Things have changed over the past two years with more curbside pickups and deliveries into our downtown core,” she goes on to say

With that in mind, Larkman says the zone will make delivering and shipping goods safer.

However, Larkman understands some deliveries will still be done right in front of the store. “We’re not against that still occurring in those areas that don’t have a loading zone,” she says, adding this (loading zone) will be just another tool, especially when it’s busy in the summer and it’s packed downtown.