MNBP Reporter’s Notebook: Paid Parking Machines Bought for Lion’s Head and Elsewhere; Tourism Advisory Board Holds Inaugural Meeting

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By John Francis

The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula Council’s Dec 21, 2020 Meeting began with a deputation from Tobermory Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Kent Wilkens asked that MNBP replace porta-potties in several locations around Tobermory with portable plumbed toilet units. These toilets offer flushing toilets, a handwashing sink with running water and an exhaust fan. It would be relatively simple to install them in several locations in time for the 2021 tourist season. Wilkens also suggested that an information kiosque be placed at the head of Little Tub Harbour to improve communications with visitors. He expressed interest in an ongoing arrangement to run the information centres in Tobermory and Ferndale.

Later in the meeting Council moved to purchase ten new paid parking machines, to implement paid parking at various locations in Lion’s Head and elsewhere.

Council’s Jan 11, 2021 Meeting Agenda contains a motion to purchase nine of the portable toilet units requested by Tobermory Chamber of Commerce, which means 18 seats. They may not all be installed in time for the beginning of the 2021 season.

The Jan 11, 2021 Meeting Agenda also contains the Minutes of the inaugural Meeting of the Tourism Advisory Board. For those with a keen interest in the future of tourism, it will make a very interesting read.

The idea of such a committee was proposed by Bruce Peninsula Environment Group several years ago and Councillor Megan Myles has continued to lobby for it since being elected. The tourism problems of 2020 combined with the obvious public concurrence at a September Public Meeting to convince the rest of Council. The TAB is jointly sponsored by MNBP and Parks Canada.

The November Meeting drew an impressive list of stakeholders and decision makers. Parks Canada’s delegation was Laura Sagerman and Parks Superintendent John Haselmayer. Ontario Parks sent Greg Wilson (Zone Manager for southwestern Ontario) and Scott Davidson (Superintendent of McGregor Point Provincial Park). Kim Clarke attended on behalf of RTO7, the Provincial tourism organization. Bruce County was represented by Natalie Mechalko and Economic Development Manager Jill Roote. Tobermory Chamber of Commerce delegated Griffin Salen as their representative. Land Steward and Ecologist Brian Popelier attended on behalf of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. The Peninsula Bruce Trail Club was represented by its Vice President, Tamara Wilson. MNBP’s delegation consisted of CAO Peggy Van Mierlo-West, Community Services Manager Ryan Deska and Councillors Smokey Golden and Megan Myles. Saugeen Ojibway Nation was not represented.

Ryan Deska will serve as Chair; Laura Sagerman will serve as Vice Chair.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a statement from the Ontario Parks representatives that an organizational review is underway and they hope to gain more park wardens as well as strategies to deal with access, parking, garbage and maintenance.

The need for dramatically improved washroom facilities came up at several points during the meeting. Griffin Salen stated that we’re 15 years behind on infrastructure and we need to catch up. A solution to 2020’s problems will involve improvements to both communications and infrastructure.

The TAB organized committees to study several areas where improvements are needed.

Another TAB Meeting was tentatively scheduled for mid-December.