Reporter’s Notebook: Tourism Taken Seriously

By John Francis

A new concept came into the English language over the past few years: overtourism. Unfortunately Northern Bruce Peninsula is the poster child for this concept.

Many aspects of overtourism need to be dealt with by our municipality and they crop up at almost every meeting.

Paid parking was implemented in Tobermory several years ago. It is widely supported as a fair and successful mechanism to raise funds (although there is considerable friction as to the dispensation of those funds). Council has discussed an expansion of paid parking many times. At the (virtual) Public Meeting on Sept 16, public opinion seemed to coalesce in favour of an expansion. At its Nov 9, 2020 Meeting, Council agreed to consider implementing paid parking at a number of locations: Lion’s Head Marina, Lion’s Head Arena, McCurdy and Moore Streets, Phillip Forbes St, (Campground and Beach), Webster St, Scott St, Main St, Little Cove Rd and possibly Black Creek Provincial Park. Council voted to forward this to the Tourism Advisory Board for review and discussion.

The Nov 9 Council Meeting also received a delegation from Tim Matheson (aka the co-founder of Celtic Camp). Matheson proposes a partnership with the municipality to create a shuttle bus service in Lion’s Head with a view to moving people from a central parking area (nominally at the arena) to various trailheads and other locations. Matheson noted that this would also offer an opportunity to communicate with visitors one-on-one to let them know what to expect and what is expected of them.

A lively discussion ensued.

The Nov 9 Meeting also saw Council approve a plan to hire an outside facilitator to hold a virtual Short-Term Accommodation Workshop. A date was not specified.