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Carriage parking spaces on King Street still not final

Town is waiting to see if Jeff Sentineal of Queens Royal Tours obtains his regional licence and all required permits.
A Sentineal Carriages ride on a beautiful day in Niagara-on-the-Lake.| File photo

When councillors approved the allocation of five parking spaces for the horse and carriage businesses operating in Niagara-on-the-Lake, they did so with the understanding it could be a temporary situation.

They were ratifying a council decision made at their committee meeting, which was to give one space to Ronda Cave, as she requested, and the other four Laura Sentineal had asked for to Sentineal Carriages, which she and Fred operate.

The catch was, and continues to be, the intentions of Fred’s brother Jeff and his Queens Royal Tours, who may or may not use the fifth space that has so far been allocated to Sentineal Carriages.

The issue, explained interim CAO Bruce Zvaniga, is that between the two meetings, he was charged with speaking to Jeff to see if the wanted the spot to operate his business, but was not able to get a definite answer.

Jeff, Zvaniga said in a memo sent to councillors before their meeting, has not completed regional business licensing requirements, so at this time cannot operate his carriage business. In a phone call to him, Zvaniga said, “Mr. Sentineal expressed his intention to restart his caleche business to coincide with this year’s May long-weekend, subject to favourable weather.”

However, staff, in speaking to the region, were told that “Queens Royal Tours Inc. (Jeff Sentineal) had not yet commenced the process to reactivate his business licence and the licensing of carriages, drivers or horses.”

Councillors were given the option at last week’s meeting to either assign the fifth spot to Sentineal Carriages until Queens Royal Tours becomes licensed and operational, or to allocate “any, all or none” of the sports in “some other fashion among among licensed caleche operators.”

Last year, Queens Royal Tours kept that fifth spot now under discussion, but sublet it to Megan Sentineal, Laura and Fred’s daughter, which allowed them to use four of the five parking spaces.

At the earlier committee meeting, Zvaniga spoke of the confusion in an “unusual” process for deciding the allocations in 2023, which was repeated in 2024. Staff were tasked with reporting on an improved process for 2024, but that wasn’t completed.

Included in the report council approved for this 2024 was that before the end if the year, in time for caleche operators to plan their 2025 season, town staff will prepare a report to council with a “proposed criteria-based application process” to assign the five parking spaces in future years, “as well as consideration of multi-year arrangements.”


About the Author: Penny Coles

Penny Coles is editor of Niagara-on-the-Lake Local
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