The following letter was sent to Mayor Milt McIver, Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula.
Re: Report Number: CAO 21-06: Proposed parking lot at 12 Brock Street in Tobermory
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep concern about the above captioned recommendation from your CAO. This is a resurrection of an idea previously mooted and condemned by many NBP residents as one of Council’s priorities in December of 2018. I have several objections to this latest scheme to wreck the heart of the community of Tobermory.
First, there are already several parking lots in Tobermory and each one has involved the destruction of the natural fauna and reduced the habitat of the wildlife in the area. Ultimately, the continued building of parking lots will destroy what remaining charm the village of Tobermory possesses.
Second, this parking would mainly serve the interests of the businesses in Tobermory and does almost nothing for the residents who, I should point out, pay more than 90 percent of the Municipality’s tax base. As the parking lot will only be in demand for July and August and it will leave a sterile, empty space for the other ten months, it amounts to a very poor investment of public money and gives nothing back to the residential taxpayer.
Third, in the summer, Tobermory is congested to the point where it is no longer a friendly place for the residents. The Brock Street/ Highway 6/Nicholas Street/Head Street circuit already supports several parking lots and strips and it is difficult to navigate in July and August. I have often had to wait 20 minutes to get back on to Highway 6. This circuit supports access to and from such important institutions and businesses as the ambulance and fire service vehicles, the Community Hall, United Church, the Post Office, The Princess Hotel and the LCBO. Merely because the Municipality owns the site does not make turning it into a parking lot a good planning decision.
Fourth, being so centrally placed, 12 Brock Street could serve as an excellent location for a seniors residence, a type of facility for which there is much demand and which could generate revenue for the municipality. A seniors residence would increase the long term population and thus create a greater sense of community. As such, it would benefit all the taxpayers.
Fifth, if there is a genuine need for more parking, then why not locate a lot outside of the village and provide a shuttle service into the village? All of the businesses in this area are within walking distance of each other. There is no need to bring vehicles into the area. A pedestrian zone would make the entire village a pleasanter place to spend time.
I should also note that I and many other residents of Tobermory believe that a similar proposed destruction of the centre of the community of Lion’s Head would never be permitted.
May I ask that, when this issue comes up for discussion, you will give some thought to a better use of this downtown property than merely creating a magnet to bring still more vehicles into the village. I would also ask you to consider how the site could be used to benefit the residential community and not just the businesses.
Ruth Bainbridge, a fifth generation resident of St. Edmunds