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Higher fees and fines aim to tame repeat of turbulent tourism season in PEC

Kate Konkin, of the Bloomfield Public Library, shows the new free Wellington Beach Day Use pass that will allow County residents to use the beach free of charge when others will pay $10 per person to enter.

Increased fees and charges approved by council Tuesday night were designed to bolster safety and generate revenue during the peak tourism season of the summer and early fall in Prince Edward County.

During the first summer of the COVID-10 pandemic the County reached unprecedented levels of tourism and equal levels of challenges for residents and businesses, including excessive traffic volumes, illegal parking and camping, excessive garbage and littering, various safety concerns and general overcrowding.

The admission fee and beach pass system is to come into effect after the provincial stay-at-home orders are lifted by the province, which is currently scheduled for June 2, 2021. The beach will be closed when it reaches capacity (350 people). A portion of this capacity will be reserved for beach pass holders each day.

Here’s what residents and visitors need to know about fees and charges for this summer:

As of May 29, Wellington Beach is free for Prince Edward County resident use and weekend visitors will be charged $10 per person, whether in a vehicle or walking to the beach. The Wellington Beach gate is to be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 4 to Sept. 19 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Admission will be free of charge for residents with a summer 2021 pass. The passes are now available by calling any library branch to set up a curbside pick-up. Bring proof of residency (such as licence or utility bill with name and postal code).

Passes are good for repeat use and do not need to be returned to the library. One pass may be used by a group of people (family, friends etc). The passes are not to be shared with vacation rental guests. Passes are necessary while the gates are staffed, even if you’re just popping in to walk your dog, or cycle through to see the sunset. While you’re talking to the library, ask about borrowing Quinte Conservation Area Parking and provincial park passes.

BOAT LAUNCH FEES:
Paid parking at the following boat launches, replaces launching fees:
1. Wellington Beach,
2. McFarland Park/Loyalist Parkway,
3. Glendon Green/ County Rd. 18,
4. Mabel Kleinsteuber/ County Rd. 12,
5. Big Island/ County Rd. 21,
6. Northport Centennial Park,
7. Prinyers Cove,
8. Rossmore/ Ridley Street,
9. Wellers Bay/ Edward Drive

The fees are $10 per day for a vehicle and $20 per day for a vehicle with trailer.

The annual launch pass is being converted to an annual launch parking pass to be valid at any of the nine listed launches. The annual pass for residents is $50 and will soon be available at all the library branches and Shire Hall. Visitors pay $100. Fees in effect June 1.

Anyone who has already purchased a season’s pass for boat launching ($85) under the former system will be reimbursed for the overpayment and given a season pass for parking at boat launches.

PARKING FINES:
Spring to fall no-parking fines have been increased to $400, from May 1 to Oct. 31 in the following areas:
• Hillier Ward, Winn’s Drive and Sheba’s Island and the area on County Road
13 adjacent to Little Bluff Conservation Area (the same areas the temporary bylaw for 2020 applied to)
• The areas adjacent to Sandbanks Provincial Park, including County Road 12, County Road 18 and Lakeshore Lodge Road
• The No Parking area on County Road 7 at the Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, both sides of the road from approximately the old church to three homes past the park (230 to 326 County Road 7).
• County Road 18, extended to Salmon Point Road, and that 250 metres of the westerly limits of Salmon Point Road be designated as no parking on either side.
(In summer 2020, there was a significant increase in vehicle traffic and
trespassing on private property in this area.)
• County Road 12, both sides, from the entrance to 2028 County Road 12 to the
intersection at Lakeshore Lodge Road.
• County Road 20 (Huyck’s Point Road) both sides at a distance of 200 metres from the westerly limits.

ILLEGAL CAMPING:
The fine for illegal camping at municipal parks, beaches and recreation areas is now $500 (from $75). The fines are geared to seasonal campers abusing municipal property and not to those in compassionate situations such as homelessness.

Find more information about the County’s Tourism Management Plan at thecounty.ca/summer-hub

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  1. ADJ says:

    Just one of many in that area Sam. Perhaps the County might reconsider a free two day dump day to encourage taxpayers to rid the waste in the proper place, People love free stuff or incentives. You will never force all people to pay $30 ?? at the dump. Think about it ..there’s a dozen needs for that $30 other than a couch disposal. So,,offer a reward like one lottery ticket for each of those loads that one has to pay to dispose of at the Landfill. I think it would be the cheaper route in the long run.

  2. Julia says:

    LB respect your argument. But people visiting here are throwing trash everywhere, using outside areas for bathrooms and disrespecting the locals. I agree with another post that a lot of thoughtful comments were included in the survey and ignored.

  3. Pacman says:

    Good luck PEC. Provincial park announces “free” daypass at Sandbanks and North Beach….

    https://www.blogto.com/travel/2021/05/ontario-offering-free-provincial-park-pass/

  4. Sam Lanfranco says:

    Waves of visitors “from away” are complicating life, and summers, for local residents, but local residents are not without blame. On the Charwell Point Road (from Army Reserve to Gull Pond) the side road built by Ducks Unlimited (to the dam) is now a dumping ground for couches and stuffed chairs. It is unlikely that those from away have hauled couches this far, and one will need a truck to “trash bash” that junk away.

  5. CountyProud says:

    I think it is a matter of finding a balance, somehow. I suspect many County residents are tired of seeing most decisions made in favour of tourists and seasonal guests yet our roads are a hot mess, construction everywhere has taken away our sense of peace and quiet, rural landscapes are disappearing as is access to Lake Ontario.

    We cannot enjoy our own backyards – the very reason many of us moved here or continue to live here; we are now being asked to pay to enjoy our own backyard. Something just doesn’t feel right about all of this but honestly, I don’t know what the solution is. This didn’t happen overnight and it will not be solved overnight either.

    Many engaged community members provided thoughtful feedback to the survey when asked yet the key areas of concerns identified on that survey have not been addressed – instead we now have to pay even more to live here and enjoy our own community.

  6. Tena says:

    LB, with all due respect, you really can’t blame most of us after last Summers fiasco.

  7. angela says:

    Think of it this way, LB. How are we expected to feel when we live in Prince Edward County, pay high taxes, and yet cannot use our own beaches in the summer months because tourists have crowded us out. How should we feel when seniors cannot get to the library in Picton or Bloomfield because there are no parking spots left? The tourists have taken most of them. Many seniors have mobility issues and find it difficult to walk a long distance. They are not handicapped, just old. How should we feel when we want to buy or rent an affordable home but STA’s have taken over many neighbourhoods and driven up the prices to ridiculous figures? Enough is enough. We are tired of being second class citizens in our county in the summer months.

  8. LB says:

    It’s difficult giving locals privileges while penalizing non-locals. If I want to travel within Ontario, I’m not sure how I feel about a two tiered price and privilege system operating in a province where I pay a lot of taxes. So if it’s okay for the County, then everywhere I go could potentially implement policies whereby I would have to pay more tax (in the form of revenuing) and more cost than others who reside there. All the while my experience would be in a second class fashion (locals first). Some tourist places would undoubtedly administer these policies more aggressively than others to the point where I would not go there. And maybe that’s the point. So this is the type of place we want to live? I feel the County messaging is STAY OUT THIS PLACE BELONGS TO US. So this is my province? Nice!

    You all say what you don’t want. What is the collective vision? Low taxes? Good roads? Good paying jobs in diverse industries? Towns changing at a pace and in way acceptable to the majority of locals? Low infrastructure costs with great service delivery? Abundant retail that serves the low income segment? Two hundred decent quality homes that locals only can purchase for under $300,000? Good local health care at no or low local cost? Families growing in good affordable homes with great schools and within a vibrant community that young people stay, embrace and raise families of their own? Free parking with practically guaranteed availability on Saturdays? No new development unless it serves the greater good of the community? Tourism permitted but regulated to a level as dictated by the local tourism council?

    Is the above why people are so disappointed with the deliveries of council after council?

  9. Gilles Bourke says:

    North Beach which only opens from June 12th to Sept 19th 2021 now has permanent No Parking signs posted up to 1 km away from the entrance on county rd 27 for a period encompassing May 1st to October 31st. How can this possibly make any sense?? Now locals who enjoy walking the beach with their children and/or dog during times when the park is not officially open can no longer do so. This is a horrible decision that affects local tax payers far more than it will outside visitors. Ridiculous and totally unnecessary.

  10. Mike Rodgers says:

    There needs to be a time limit to the length of time you are allowed to park illegally after being ticketed then if still there towed away,

  11. Teena says:

    I agree with Angela as well. I think the Mayor and Councillors go into the job with some really good intentions, but… By the way, many of our Councillors didn’t take a dime in contributions, and I commend them! Thank you!

  12. Dennis Fox says:

    Angela – you have made some great points. What I am getting at is that all too often people are elected or re-elected and the public has no idea of what they stand for. Far too often people vote for a name, not knowing what they really stand for. How many times have we seen our local papers run “Candidate Questionnaires” and the candidates make promises that they never come close to even trying to keep – and yet there is never any follow-up or accountability? They often get re-elected because no one holds them accountable. For example – two elections ago, the number of candidates who “promised” to reduce the size of council down to 9 was huge – yet none of them kept their word – even worse they ignored the public survey they conducted and did the opposite – and yet these councillors were re-elected and are still there claiming to represent the public – when for 8 years they haven’t been!

    It has nothing to do with being an old or new councillor – it has everything to do with electing the right people and knowing what they stand for – and holding them accountable. This has not happened often enough in PEC. Yes, I do keep track of things – that is just my nature. An involved and knowledgeable public can make the changes we need here. Just sayin now is a good time for this to start happening – just in time for the upcoming election next year.

  13. angela says:

    Every election year it is the same story. Get rid of the old councillors responsible for the bad decisions and elect new faces. And every election year the same thing happens. New councillors are elected but when they get to Shire Hall they discover it is not the slam dunk they thought it would be. Soon, the public is criticizing the newbies just as they did the old councillors. That’s not to say that we should be content with the status quo but it is pie in the sky to think that by putting a slate of newcomers into office our problems will disappear. A new broom sweeps clean but an old one knows the corners.

  14. Julia says:

    Agreeing with Dennis time to start thinking about upcoming election time. Council is not listening. No innovation just enforcement. I think it will be as bad as last year and that was awful. Sad in Picton.

  15. Mark says:

    Come on Dennis! You can still do it.

  16. Dennis Fox says:

    I appreciate all who have commented – but let’s start being pro-active. Talking alone solves nothing. I too am concerned about the direction “OUR” County is going, but after a life time of politics I have no interest in serving on another council.(Yeah, I know talk is easy) Now is the time for people to start planning to run for office – if you really believe that you can help give us a brighter future, then go for it! I will be happy to support those who are truly interested and have something positive to offer. Right now we are in a mess – we need good thinkers and good people.

  17. Paul Cole says:

    All this talk about trying to control over tourism yet The County is entertaining studies about Bicycle paths which would bring even more tourists to the area..

  18. olmnonthemtn says:

    No problem Dominique the overflow of tourists to Lake on the Mountain will park on both sides of the road where most of us mountain people live narrowing our road and forcing people to walk on the narrowed pavement (think seniors, the handicapped and children in strollers). We had no input the blame rests with council.

  19. David Thomas says:

    I can understand the revenue generation aspect of these new rules but it won’t reduce any tourism-related headaches in the County whatsoever. Underground parking at Brookfield Place in Toronto – one of the largest of its sort in the country – is packed to the gills in normal times. The cost? $35 per day. Admission fees will happily be paid by the day trippers. However, the lineups to get into some of these spots will be monumental since everyone’s passes will need to be checked to make sure you aren’t one of those STA scofflaws using the owner’s pass.

  20. Administrator says:

    Visit the County’s new Summer Hub website for more information https://www.thecounty.ca/summer-hub/who-to-call/
    Regarding Point Petre, it states:
    Issues at Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area
    Point Petre is crown land and as such is open to all and it is out of the municipality’s jurisdiction to regulate.

    Information on what activities are permitted on crown land.
    If you suspect a natural resource violation (i.e. unlawful hunting or dumping at Point Petre) contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Tip Line: 1-877-847-7667
    More information about violations is available on the MNRF website.
    If your concern is about a matter of public safety or criminal activity, please call the appropriate police line: 9-1-1 for emergencies, or the Non Emergency Line 1-888-310-1122 / Report Online.

  21. Dennis Fox says:

    What has come to mind is the fact that Northport boat launch is in Centennial Park – a park where parents bring their kids for picnics and to play on the playground equipment. If they live a kilometer or two away, will they have to pay to park their cars. I hope not – this park was built and maintained by the recreation volunteers – for the public to use for free!

  22. Rocker n Roller says:

    What about County rd 24 Pt. Petre anyone see that mess last year. We need restrictions down that road also it will be ruined like Little Bluff was if we dont lay fines there also

  23. Dominique Molin says:

    There is insufficient parking spots in the Lake on the Mountain area. Where is one supposed to park?

  24. CountyProud says:

    Well, there you have it folks, everything should be unicorns and rainbows this summer season. Honestly, it will take people less than a minute to figure out you can park at the Glendon Green boat launch for $10 and walk or bike into Sandbanks.

    Illegal camping happens everywhere and often on rural private properties such as hay fields and laneways. Often leaving behind litter (obnoxious litter at that) evidence of illegal bon fires etc and I seriously doubt the OPP want me calling constantly to have people evicted and/or fined.

    Fines for illegal parking may only make a difference if enforced. Frankly there should be a tag a tow lot established somewhere and maybe then these folks may get the message when THEY are inconvenienced.

    I’m not sure what the answer is so I supposed this is a start. How will success be measured? How do we know these actions are making a difference and how much would Councillors like to hear from their constituents when we are overrun again this year.

    Fingers crossed we are taking a baby step in the right direction

  25. Dennis Fox says:

    I have to say that I find this topic to be very annoying, to the point of being almost humorous. For years, the public complained about being overrun with tourist and having their complaints basically ignored by the powers to be. Now suddenly those same powers to be realize the very thing that they have supported and promoted with tax dollars has back-fired – now they will fine the beejeebers out of the tourists in the hope they stay away!

    The result is that now local taxpayers will have to pay for parking fees at launch sites, still have their beaches, roads and hospital over-crowded – while the same masters of our local planning look at $20 million bicycle route!? Yup, makes sense to all of us – right? Our quality of life has been lessened because if this and no one bothered to even ask us what we wanted.

  26. Administrator says:

    Prince Edward County

  27. Terry says:

    Who is considered a resident for the Wellington beach pass? Residents of Wellington, residents of the county or residents of Hastings and Prince Edward County?

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