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Council approves traffic/pedestrian safety study at controversial Lake on the Mountain

The lake is a natural curiosity with a constant flow of clean, fresh water, with no apparent source and set 60 metres above Lake Ontario with views towards the Bay of Quinte, the Glenora Ferry and the north shore. – visitpec.ca photo

Council has given the go-ahead to request a third-party public safety study of traffic and pedestrians in the recently controversial Lake on the Mountain area.

The study, to include pedestrian volume and mobility, vehicle volume and speed, among other things, is expected to be under way as early as next week while tourism is still high.

The request was brought forward at Tuesday night’s council meeting by councillor Ernie Margetson who seeks recommendations on safety and traffic impacts to be implemented by next summer’s tourist season.

“The goal here to provide sound technical analysis and recommendations for safety of both pedestrians and vehicular traffic in a popular area that is a very important part of the County fabric,” he said, adding the study “emphasizes and refocuses the responsibility of this council and the municipality regarding the importance of ensuring pedestrian safety there. This is an area that lends itself to high volume of pedestrian activity, combined with vehicular traffic aspects of a county collector road with rural standards and also the activities of the adjacent land uses and attractions which we strive to keep safe for all to enjoy.”

The controversy centres on a section of the County’s new Tourism Management Plan that eliminated parking and increased fines to $400 in several locations in the County, including Lake on the Mountain.

The Chretian family, owners of the Lake on the Mountain Resort and two restaurants, The Inn and The Miller House stated publicly earlier this month they would be closing their businesses, blaming the County’s new parking restrictions put into place around the provincial park and area that has been overwhelmed with tourists. The new rule eliminated parking on both sides of the road between 230 and 326 County Road 7, in front of the Lake on the Mountain resort.

The family has publicly stated the parking restrictions are the reason they will close their businesses, stating there was no consultation on the change and though they have about 45 parking spots for vehicles, it is not enough. Parking on the road approximately doubled spaces available. The family also has concerns for elderly diners who must walk a greater distance on the road as shoulders are not well maintained.

Danielle Chretien was scheduled to speak to council Tuesday night in a deputation, but did not. Her deputation submission stated she had questions, and wanted to “address council about the parking restrictions in front of our businesses and imposing a punitive $400 for offenders” and its impact on their business, family, staff and customers.”

Councillor Brad Nieman supported the study, but was concerned its data may not be as accurate as a fullsome study from the start to the end of tourist season.

Councillor Stewart Bailey stated the study was not something new that just came up with the recent controversy.

“If you look into the history of this location you’ll find minutes to previous meetings of the public works committee… in 2003, reports that followed that August… traffic committee in 2009, 2010… they all deal with traffic concerns in this area. They are not new they have a history going back 18 years at least, along with traffic advisory committee of June 2019 where I had initially asked the traffic safety issues in this area be looked at. The study is timely.”

Several councillors agreed the same kind of study could be done in other areas of the County with high pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The issue will also be part of a comprehensive review of the Tourism Management Plan before next year’s tourism season.

Margetson didn’t disagree, but added the Lake on the Mountain location was one indicated as being particularly challenging because of the geometrics, and pedestrians crossing to see attractions on both sides of the road.

Lake on the Mountain, 69 feet above the waters of the Bay of Quinte, has no visible inlet and is within 100 yards of the escarpment overlooking the Glenora Ferry.  Engineers later confirmed the lake’s greatest depth is just over 100 feet and it is supplied by streams.

CAO Marcia Wallace confirmed other locations could be completed concurrently if that is the wish of council. Lake on the Mountain’s study, she said, will not be difficult, or expensive, to get under way and should include options, given the uniqueness of the location, to provide advice to council about safety in the future.

“We are dealing with a matter of public safety and it is vitally important to begin as soon as possible,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “The data may be collected on a regular basis, not just on this roadway, but others, given the popularity of the municipality.”

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    I’m not sure if the property owners have ever been requested to build onsite parking – they should have been years ago and this problem would not exist today. But like a lot of things, businesses develop over time and the need changes. But for many this is not the issue, it is the lack of process and the heavy handed manner that council imposed – with no parking signs going up without any notice or discussion to give people time to prepare. If this approach had taken place, it would result in a much more positive image for this community.

  2. kb says:

    Sounds like the tax payor is flipping the bill – again!! Another study, another report, and we already know how this will end. Well if they can’t run their business under the current restrictions, perhaps it’s time to do their own study and assessment. Why are we paying for this nonesense. It’s a slippery slope because it sets PEC up for the same response from other businesses. Why does this one get heard and actioned?

  3. Kevin says:

    How much land do the Chretian’s own? I’m sure there’s an ample parking lot possibility on the property if they want to spend their own money and not the rate payers.

  4. Susan says:

    I don’t know what happened to the parking in the site plan agreement. It would appear as though there is very little room for parking for such a large development.

  5. Chris Keen says:

    Want parking issues? Just wait until the Royal opens!

  6. Dan says:

    It is also worth noting, there are several small business’s in PEC witch have limited private parking, and use street parking when busy.
    So should we now single them out as well, with restrictions and more punitive measures. When does it become less about public safety and more about targeting small business.

  7. Dan says:

    Ontario parks sure has been an atrocious corporate citizen here in the county.

    The study will say that LOTM needs traffic calming measures, additional paid street parking, curbs and crosswalks, barriers between parking and residential properties and additional bylaws to allow intensification in the areas between commercial and residential areas.

    You are welcome.

  8. Bruce Nicholson says:

    County staff did their homework and recommended banning parking on one side of the road. Council voted to ban both sides of the road after a Councillor amended the motion.
    Why did Council disrespect the work of the staff and not approve the original motion?
    This study is unnecessary.

  9. Emily says:

    How does a late August early September traffic study at LOM (taxpayer funded) help us? This is pure foolishness to look like we are now doing something we should have done before passing $400 parking tickets. That data is woorthless to solving this issue. Discussion with all affected should have occurred first. When your in a hole do not keep digging!

  10. Dennis Fox says:

    To be clear – I do believe that onsite parking is worth investigating for both of these businesses. My concern is about how this matter has been handled. It becomes worse when both long time business people and residents have been ignored – and in one case verbally attacked and threatened with police action. Obviously, the method has overshadowed the real issue – the need for parking spaces – which shows just how poorly council has handled this matter. Think about it – a parking issue has escalated into this fiasco. How does that happen?

  11. angela says:

    They threw a tantrum and announced they would close and now council is giving the situation another look. Announcements of closure usually come with dates. This one did not and appears to be a pressure tactic. It also seems to be working.

  12. Dan says:

    Study is just for public show now. Should of been done earlier, then implemented necessary changes after proper consultation and public representation. Its called democracy.
    This is a disaster and was completely avoidable.
    Tourism management plan was designed to target few problem areas, instead they used to cripple business’s , suppress all public water access points. Ridiculous

  13. Jackie Soorsma says:

    As Lake on the Mountain is a Provincial Park, should the Ontario Parks Board have some say on how they will address this dangerous situation?

    The paid parking and washrooms are on one side of the road and The Lake of the Mountain, lake is on the other side of the road. It would appear as people sometimes forget they are on a major County Road when they cross from the parking lot over to the Lake of the Mountain attraction, that this is the major part of the problem.

    Seems to me that once again Ontario Provincial Parks are making the County’s elected Council try to solve a problem that is in fact a Provincial Park issue.

    The last time we drove through the area, the restaurant parking lot was not full, yet the restaurant that I could see appeared to be full. The Provincial Park Parking lot did appear to be full and people wanting to visit the park were parked well beyond the Provincial Park Boundary, and then walking back to the Provincial Park along the road.

    So, nothing has changed, cars are still parked on the side of the road only further away from the park. People are still walking along the road.

    And that, to my way of seeing things, is the problem with the Lake on the Mountain Park, not, Lake on the Mountain Restaurants.

    I usually like to provide some kind of solution but this to my way of thinking is a Provincial Park Issue, and I have no suggestions for a solution.

  14. Chuck says:

    As Councilor Nieman attempted to tell Council, this study is a waste of time and money. Even if a company began this work in 2 weeks time, it is too late as the tourist season has already peaked. You then end up with useless data.

  15. Dennis Fox says:

    If there really is a safety issue, then that should be easy enough to study, with a proper reccomendation to implement – after public input has been received.. As we know, this did not happen in this case. For anyone following this issue in our local media, they would know that this issue could not have been more poorly handled by the municipality – no discussion with the immediate neighbourhood, no discussion with the business people. This is not how good decisions are made and no wonder it has become controversial. To go back now is the right thing to do, but make no mistake about it, a lot of needless damage has been inflicted and it has been costly to both those directly involved and to the taxpayers of this municipality. At times like this, I wonder why our staff doesn’t speak up to advise council – or do they and are not listened to?

  16. SR says:

    Do we really want a council that can be easily manipulated by any business owner, small or large? We need council to be transparent and willing to do what is right even if there is disagreement without be bullied.

  17. Dennis Fox says:

    Once again, the cart is coming before the horse! Shouldn’t a proper study/investigation have taken place, before Council took any action? I am not impressed with a process that places both people and businessess into jeopardy, plus dividing this community. Sorry, but this is not how government at any level is suppose to work – and I wonder how much this has cost the taxpayer?

  18. Mike Rodgers says:

    It was a condition primed for a accident, because none had happened was just pure luck.

  19. ayar says:

    Unfortunately the study will only show current conditions. It will not show what the conditions were that brought about the new parking regulations. Since the parking restrictions came in you can actually see kids about to cross at the park where previously they were hidden by parked vehicles and there aren’t pedestrians walking in the road or car doors opening onto the road. Also interesting to note that in an article published in Le Devoir the inn owners said they were not closing permanently but only until a council that supported small business owners was elected.

  20. SM says:

    Good on Council directing that a traffic study be done in this area. Presumably they will have proper data with which to make an informed decision.
    As to the business in question, their ‘declared intention’ to close is suspect in my mind. Nowhere in their advertisement do they indicate when this closure will take place. There was no indication on their website of a pending closure.
    It seems that this is a tactic employed solely to put pressure on Council to change their position.
    The comprehensive zoning bylaw requires commercial operations to provide parking. Have these businesses complied with that requirement? Is there some reason that they cannot provide parking on their own property?

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