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Weekend parking restrictions and raised fines to help ease overcrowding at water access points

Council has raised fines and set parking restrictions on weekends and holidays to begin to address overcrowding and traffic problems at various water access points in Prince Edward County.

Complaints continued last weekend about tourists parked on the roadside, roads clogged with cars trying to get into Sandbanks Provincial Park,  and down to one-lane access in other stretches of roadway, forcing emergency vehicles to use the oncoming lane, or straddle narrow passage between two lanes of parked cars. Parking pressures are also on nearby waterfront points both public, and private, and trespassing, property damage and nuisance complaints followed.

A temporary no parking bylaw will be created to prohibit weekend and holiday parking on the south side of Bakker Road leading to the parking; on the south side of North Beach Road; on Winn’s Drive and on one side of Island Road. It was determined Stinson Block road was not a concern since the beaches have re-opened.

Council agreed Tuesday night that fines would be increased at these no parking areas to $300 from $35 and increase the set fine to $400 from $50.

Councillor Bill Roberts suggested the fines were steep, and “a kick in the netherlands to our residents and possibly an incredible strain on some families taking advantage of those unofficial beaches” especially those unemployed because of COVID-19.

Councillor Janice Maynard agreed.

“This is an example of how our community is becoming unlivable because residents are pushed out of every corner and now have no where to go,” she said. “Punitive fines will be the most felt by the lower you are on the economic scale. Some of these daytrippers driving their $200,000 cars aren’t going to care one iota about a parking ticket being $300 or $500. The ones we are going to catch up in this are the ones who can least afford it, or the ones we don’t want to punish.”

Roberts suggested the fines be reduced to $100 paid within seven days and set fines at $200, but his motion failed in a vote.

Councillors agreed there were no longer issues on Stinson Block Road, as there was earlier in the summer when other beaches were closed due to the coronavirus.

Councillor Phil St. Jean called for no parking on the entirety of Winn’s Drive and Island Road on Sheba’s Island, noting the residents there were unhappy with excessive parking that also causes a strain on emergency services to get through.

Mayor Steve Ferguson said that due to COVID-19 and the County being in Stage 3 or re-opening, this has been, and will be, a summer like no other. He is in conversation with MPPs to help find solutions to over capacity parking at the provincial beaches and better communication to the public when they are full.

Better messaging at off ramps and bridges was suggested. Councillor John Hirsch also wants council to take a larger look at what kind of access is being allowed – especially in areas that lead to environmentally senstive areas.

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  1. JennyD says:

    Ditto everything you just said Dennis, and would include that more bylaw enforcement is required in all areas to target all problem areas.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    I find the whole conversation about enhanced parking fines to be, if nothing else, interesting. The people who are being attracted to these beaches(public or private) are the same people who Council(using our tax dollars) and local businesses encouraged to come here – we call them tourists. These are the same people who could have been paying a modest “Accommodation Tax” – but that was postponed due to the virus – but the same virus wasn’t enough to stop the $300 to $400 parking fines from being passed at Council. Interesting isn’t it?

    In the past I know that I have written letters to both Council and to our local media about the need to develop a plan that would see tourist dollars being raised to help the local taxpayers. There are simple methods to make this happen(an accommodation tax was one), but I don’t believe enhanced parking fines will save us much money at all – in fact if we have to chase after the people for payment, it could cost us more than what the ticket is for.

  3. Rob #2 says:

    If they really to solve this problem they would heavily sign the area and then simply tow the vehicles.

    And I really don’t know how the problem would be solved if we feel that County people are parking there so they should get a break. Seems like you’ll solve nothing by some sort of arbitrary system of enforcement.

  4. Gary Mooney says:

    I emailed Council in advance of the meeting to object to an increase of 10x from $35 to $400 ($300 if paid early) in the fine for simple no-parking. It’s punitive, and looks like an abuse of power by County government. I suggested a more modest fine of $100, which would still be a deterrent.

    It’s likely that the majority of people who park alongside the road at North Beach or an unofficial beach are locals. So, not only are they not able to visit Sandbanks without a lot of hassle, they’re in danger of being stuck with a huge fine at their alternative beach, if they take a chance. $400 or $300 is a huge hit for many County families desperate to enjoy some beach time in their own municipality, after being cooped up for months. 880 km of shoreline, and they can’t access it.

    If Quebecers park in these areas, they may not pay, anticipating the County’s difficulty in collecting from residents of another province. Even those from the GTA may hesitate to pay. So it may be locals who suffer the most.

    Thanks to Councillor Roberts who tried to get the fine reduced, and to several other Councillors who supported him.

  5. Johanna McCarthy says:

    Perhaps give stickers for residents to put on the windshield so they will not have to pay.
    Keep the fines high for anyone with no sticker.

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