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Sheba’s Island residents tell council tourism is creating havoc

Deputants shared phots of parking and garbage near Sheba’s Island.

Property owners at Sheba’s Island and Winn’s Drive are asking the muncipality to solve parking, garbage and related tourism concerns at West Lake.

Council’s recent temporary no parking bylaw on Winn’s Drive has helped alleviate some issues, but Lawrie Ackerman, a spokesperson for the residents, said it does not address overall issues creating havoc for property owners.

The recent no-parking signs have shifted the problems there, said Don Mayne, also speaking on behalf of residents of the community of 110 homes and cottages. Winn’s Drive leads to the community.

“Visitors are now afraid to park along the road so instead they idle on the road to allow their passengers to disembark…,” he said. “The idling on the road is repeated when the visitors are leaving. For an even longer period, the vehicle waits while kids are corralled and their scattered belongings around the beach are retrieved. So, with the parking bylaw we have a different bottleneck.”

At issue, they say, is the growing popularity of the nearby trailer park and water park which Ackerman states continues to expand and does not have adequate space for customer parking and residents are seeing an excess of trash dumped along the road.

The inflatable waterpark is not open this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but residents state the increased rentals of jet skis, pontoon and fishing boats this year is causing increased noise and sometimes pose danger for the island residents.

“We pay over $6,000 a year in taxes and we can’t even use our own waterfront,” Marc Ouellette told council, noting tourism has become a detriment to residents’ safety.

The park has been in place for at least 50 years and has legal non-confirming use that allows the waterpark.

Mayne requested council investigate the general issue of waterparks, their impact on water quality and liabilities, and if these parks could appear on any of the county’s waters.

“Kingston’s council is considering the issue as are many other municipalities in North America,” said Mayne.

The two deputants agree the parking of cars on both sides of Winn’s Drive was “a symptom of the underlying issue.”

“Before the municipality makes this temporary parking bylaw a permanent solution, we ask that you look into the causes for the parking problem,” said Ackerman. “Additionally we further ask you (bylaw enforcement) to please look into the operations of the water park and trailer park to see if they are complying with the zoning bylaws.”

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  1. angela says:

    Council should have put the brakes on when so many Picton neighbourhoods were being turned into vacation rental homes. Things have spiraled out of control with outsiders making big dollars by exploiting the county while its local residents are being pushed into the background.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    If any comfort can be taken from any of this is that many European cities are struggling with the same problem of being overrun by tourists – but there they are truly getting aggressive by limiting the number of cruise ships docking and the number of buses and trains being allowed into their cities. As I commented before, I have friends in West Lake who just sold their home because of the unpleasant life style that has developed due to tourism. This is a sad state because these people truly loved it here and contributed to their community – now an out of town real estate lawyer bought their home and plans to run an AirBnB. The only ones to benefit will be the new owner and the many renters – the community loses all around.

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