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High fines proposed to address crowded weekend parking near water access points

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Council will discuss the idea of raising fines for parking near water access points on weekends and holidays to address overcrowding and traffic issues in the County.

Municipal staff is proposing council increase the parking fine at designated no-parking areas – specifically at popular waterfront access areas, to $300 from $35 and increase the set fine to $400 from $50.

“Given the majority of tourists tend to come from a several hours drive away, and are likelymore willing to take the risk of a fine to reach the waterfront, staff estimates that this significant increase in the fine – or even greater – will provide a more effective deterrent,” said Noah Lister-Stevens, Programs and Policy Analyst, in his report for Tuesday night’s council meeting.

No-parking zones in problematic areas that are not covered by existing bylaws are proposed for Bakker Road, North Beach Road, Stinson Block Road near the water access points; and
Winn’s Drive and Islands Road, on Sheba Island.
Wellington Beach is already covered by a temporary $20 parking charge on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays under a recently approved temporary bylaw passed
by council on July 7. County Road 12’s adjacent sections are covered by existing bylaws.

“While the tourism opportunities and benefits to PEC from the use of these water access points are immense, the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary physical distancing to contain the spread of the virus has required the municipal government to enforce stricter capacity requirements, as a result of the province moving Hastings-Prince Edward region into Phase 3 and necessary Ontario Ministry of Health measures,” he states. “These measures include limiting groups to no more than 50 (100 if outside), including maintaining physical distancing.”

He noted the parking problem not only could affect the spread of the novel coronavirus, it also affects fire safety if hydrants are blocked, or if firefighters need to pump water directly from the lake.

“In some areas over the 4th of July weekend, between tourists parked on the roadside and those in line to get into the park, reports surfaced that traffic was stopped up to 3-4km away from the Sandbanks park gate, and down to one-lane access in certain stretches of roadway (i.e. forcing emergency vehicles to use the oncoming lane).”

Parking pressures are also then placed on nearby waterfront points both public, and private, and trespassing, property damage and nuisance complaints follow.

The most notable hotspots that tourists tend to park on the road include (County Road 12 and 18 adjacent to Sandbanks; Bakker Road; North Beach Road and adjacent sections of County Road 27; Stinson Block Road, near the two water access points; Wellington Main Street, when Beach Street is closed due to overcapacity; Lakeshore Lodge Road, off of County Road 12; and Winn’s Drive and Islands Road, on Sheba Island.

Currently, no-parking areas exist on either both or specific sides of the road on County Roads 12, 18 and Lakeshore Lodge Road. A $35 fine for unauthorized parking is in place, enforced by a handful of bylaw enforcement officers, however, he states, “Given the magnitude of the problem and the number of tourists still parking on the road, the penalty is seemingly insufficient to address the problem adequately.”

“Measures taken to address these issues must also be balanced against the need to maintain residents access to water access points, as a simple parking ban outright may inadvertently harm those who desire or require regular access to the waterfront,” his report states. “This includes respecting the needs of long-time residents who have ownership of waterfront properties, and who wish to see action taken to preserve their property rights against illegal access by visitors looking for less-public water fronts.”

He noted staff considered preserving residential access to waterfronts by charging different fees for parking offences based on where their licence plates are registered.

“This is probably not a viable option, as it would amount to discriminatory penalties for the same offence, and is likely unconstitutional.”

Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Michelle says:

    Council spoke to the fact tonight that we are over capacity as a municipality.

  2. Sandra Ehrenreich says:

    Thank you for this. I really hope that parking fines are enforced as it is really becoming a real headache for anyone trying to access these roads.

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