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Parking fees coming to conservation areas and boat launches

Quinte Conservation is rolling out a new paid parking system at conservation areas and boat launches.

“Our areas have been free to use, however, the cost to maintain these areas is increasing as aging structures and degrading roadways and parking areas need work,” said Terry Murphy, general manager.

Starting Sept. 1 – visitors will be required to pay using the MacKay Pay parking app on their phone or online. The standard fee per vehicle is $5 for conservation areas and $10 for boat launches.

“The great thing about MacKay Pay is that it’s simple. Visitors can pay through the app on their phone, or online before visiting the area. Each area has its own zone number, which means we can track the parking fees and make sure that money gets put back into that area.”

Murphy said there currently isn’t a source of revenue to maintain and upgrade the areas.

“Quinte Conservation has 30,000 acres of land, 23 conservation areas, and 75km of trail systems. We’ve been relying on donations and grants to support these areas, but the time has come to explore alternative revenue options.”

Frequent trail users can purchase an annual membership pass for $50 using the MacKay Pay app or by visiting MacKay Pay online at:

A membership pass grants access to Quinte Conservation’s areas for one year from purchase date.

Those using designated boat launches and parking with a boat trailer can pay a daily boat launch fee or purchase an annual boat launch pass for $60.

All revenue generated from the paid parking system and through annual membership passes will support conservation area enhancement initiatives.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Mike Rodgers says:

    The times you refer to were as I mentioned were when there was a Prince Edward Conservation Authority. The office and yard were at the Macaulay conservation area. There was full time staff and summer students. They were always doing improvements etc at all areas. The it became what we have now, based out of Belleville and when was the last time you saw anyone around the county working on our conservation areas. I for one would like the county to take back our areas.

  2. Trevor Collier says:

    Ahh. How nice to remember the days when we could go to our favourite spot and swim in relative solitude. In our case it was Little Bluff conservation area. Virtually all of the people there were people one knew, because we all lived down the road from each other
    All of that changed three years ago or so when the folks at Sandbanks – anxious to avoid visitor disappintment — started sending people to Little Bluff when the Provincial Park was full. Overnight the Little Bluff conservation area changed: where once it was a surprise to see more than five cars in the parking lot now at peak time ten, fifteen or more vehicles filled the lot and spilled down the road. The single blue porta potty was a stomach turning disgrace, and garbage was everywhere. As far as I could see the Conservation authority did very little to maintain the area — mabe they thought it was still 1985.
    My point is, since the source of overcrowding in conservation areas is largely the fault of Sandbanks’ capacity problems, the province should bear some responsibilty for their upkeep. Instead, we have been given a pay as you go system which, in essence, makes all of the much loved conservation areas into mini-Sandbanks.

  3. Mike Rodgers says:

    PEC when it had its own school board and conservation authority had some of the best looking and well keeps schools and and conservation areas around, when this was lost the high school looked like a penitentiary and as mentioned the conservation areas look terrible. Same old thing small guy has no say.

  4. snowman says:

    A lot of confused folks on this subject.Quinte Conservation and Prince Edward County are two separate entities. Figure it out.I know: one taxpayer,I get that.

  5. Keyboard Warrior says:

    Yup! Charge us to use our Conservation Areas then sink the money back into the Conservation Areas in Belleville! The article says fees will be tracked and the money will be put back into that area, but we will wait and see!
    Bird House City Conservation Area is a disgrace. The grass isn’t mowed making it impossible to visit without getting overrun with ticks. I used to visit McFarland Area too, but not anymore…I hope they invest in lawn maintenance equipment.
    I don’t want to pay just to end up with Lyme disease!

  6. ADJ says:

    Gary, talk about the electric vehicle Ouinte Con. now has with plans to purchase more. Was this a necessary purchase? Would a fleet lease make more sense?
    Is this pay as you go system on the honor system?…Good luck with that.

  7. Gary Mooney says:

    The concept is user-pay. If the government (whatever government) is short of money, as is always the case, the choice is to collect fees from users or fail to maintain the service.

    The conservation area fees are extremely modest, for both one-time and frequent users. And if you own a boat, you can afford the launch fee.

  8. MI says:

    I call BS. How much does the County spend on staff and marketing only to nickel and dime people who want to spend recreational time on our waters. I would like to know how many staff and the payroll
    at Quinte Conservation. I would suggest that staffing and enforcement of boat launch fees might not even cover the income derived from the revenue. Another excuse for a growing bureaucracy at the expense of tourism and us taxpayers.

  9. Susan says:

    The County has new employees parking on Paul Street right up by the King Street intersection, a very difficult congested area, causing a significant visual problem. Traffic at the corner is now down to one lane.

  10. Mike Rodgers says:

    Like every new by law who will enforce it. the parking situation is Picton is a good example. People continue to park in front of the Regent at the cross walk. The highway traffic act states that there is no parking within 3 metres of a cross walk. The by law officers and the OPP both pay no attention. Delivery’s to the Vic cause most of the illegal parking situation, for some reason they can not park 15 foot back at the drive way to the back of the library. Maybe a $100. ticket would entice them to park here. Also at the 555 bar, the owners are always parked in the stripped no parking area with no ticket. All delivery trucks park here alone with people that need a coffee at Timmys.
    Like I sad who will enforce this new by law. They do not enforce the ones we already have,

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