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Municipal staff recommend parking study, sharing costs, for Lake on the Mountain safety measures

Conceptual design for Lake on the Mountain crosswalk, walkways and possible parking spots.

UPDATE: Council was in agreement to move forward with the pedestrian crossing with financial assistance of Ontario Parks and also decided to allow parking on the road in the immediate area of the park during 2022, eliminating the $400 fines put in place last summer.

A parking needs study is to be completed over the summer.

Councillors expressed concern with the high cost for the crossover, walkway and installing paid parking spots, while noting the necessity to improve pedestrian and road safety.

“There’s been all kinds of commentary, negative and positive,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “We have neighbour against neighbour, neighbour against business, business against neighbour. We have conflicting opinions and views among members of council. We cannot let this languish.”

 

FEB. 23: Council will review a request for a budget of more than half a million dollars for detailed design and construction of a pedestrian crossover, walkway and possible roadside parking as safety measures along a controversial portion of County Road 7 surrounding Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park.

Municipal staff recommend asking the province for some funds to offset the crossover, as preliminary discussions with Ontario Parks staff suggest some portion of the project could be cost-shared.

The recommended conceptual design is anticipated to cost between $527,870 (if an asphalt walkway is implemented) and $604,190 (if concrete). Roadside parking has been included in the conceptual design and anticipated cost.

At Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, staff are recommending a parking analysis be done to determine if, and how many, roadside parking spaces may be needed. The parking analysis would be funded from the municipality’s parking reserve fund, the remainder from the reserve for roads construction.

Parking and traffic concerns at Lake on the Mountain have been a matter of municipal discussion for more than a decade, but came to a head in the summer of 2020 with unprecedented visitor numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The winding, narrow road gets high volumes of tourists, restaurant patrons, residents and provincial park visitors crossing on both sides of the road.

As part of the new Tourism Management Plan, first presented to council in January 2021, speed display boards and new digital signs were installed on County Road 7 at Lake on the Mountain. It was also recommended the $400 no parking fines first set in August 2020 continue, at ‘secret’ water access locations throughout the County and other high-demand areas including Lake on the Mountain.

At the Feb. 25, 2021 committee of the whole meeting, a motion was made to amend the parking bylaw to include no parking on both sides of County Road 7 from civic numbers 230 to 326.

Late last summer, Ainley & Associates conducted a traffic review with a focus on pedestrian activity and vehicle movement to provide recommendations which also included the installation of bollards/delineator posts between pedestrian walkways and parking spaces.

Last month, Ainley hosted a virtual public information meeting to present findings and gather public opinion. Parking was top concern, outside of the traffic review’s scope.

A parking analysis would evaluate the number of spaces needed, sightlines and speed limits.

“The intent of the parking analysis is to alleviate concerns of the local residents’ by ensuring that any roadside parking spaces made available are defined parking spaces and appropriately setback from the proposed PXO (crossover) and entrances (including residential entrances and the parking lot entrances),” stated the report by Aynsley Osborne, Development Co-ordinator. “If the parking analysis determines roadside parking is appropriate, it is recommended that it be paid parking using the J.J. Mackay Canada parking system.”

Staff estimate it would take approximately five years for the paid parking to offset the project cost, using assumptions of 53 parking spaces (maximum outlined in the conceptual drawing); paid parking for six months of the year at $3 per hour (paid parking would use the same fees as the provincial park parking lot) on a time frame of 10 hours a day.

Based on past projects of similar size, it is anticipated the design phase could take two to three months to complete.

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  1. SS says:

    I hope that those who question council’s decisions, actions and inactions on this and other recent topics, put some effort into voting this fall in our municipal elections.

    If nothing changes, well … Nothing changes.

    Yes, I know, we all hate change.

    Every vote counts, regardless of who you vote for. Please do so.

  2. This whole thing has been a solution looking for a problem. As a long term resident of this area, I have never heard or seen of any accidents or incidents. Local residents either avoid the area if possible in the summer, or simply slow down in anticipation of a pedestrian jumping out in front of you. The parked cars on both side narrows the roadway and instinctively, drivers slow down. Not complicated at all.

  3. Dennis Fox says:

    I don’t recall there being a problem before last summer, when the local councillor brought the issue to council. Sorry this whole thing has been poorly handled. Where will this money come from? Hopefully funded by the tourist industry.

  4. Gary says:

    You pay for the same thing in Bloomfield.

  5. John says:

    This is clearly a tourist thing. Money should come from taxes on short term accommodations not my taxes.

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