MNBP Reporter’s Notebook: Paid Parking Expands; Parking Restrictions Plus Tow-Away Zones

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By John Francis

Provincial Parks are open for local residents to use to get exercise. National Park campgrounds are closed but parking lots are open for residents who wish to get their exercise at the park. Fees apply in several locations.

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With a rapidly approaching tourist season, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula is putting the finishing touches on its plans to manage the influx.

New regulations governing Short-Term Accommodations (STAs) will probably wait until 2022, but MNBP will be moving forward with several other initiatives pertaining to parking, crowding and safety.

A Special Meeting was held on April 7 to receive reports from various staff and discuss the best approaches. The decisions were to be drafted into Bylaws to be presented at Council’s regular Meeting on Monday, April 12.

The first report tabled was from Municipal Treasurer Teresa Shearer and it concerned revenues from paid parking in Tobermory. Her report gives monthly data for every location for each year. (See this report and all the others in the Agenda for the April 7 Special Meeting — Click Agendas and Minutes on the MNBP home page, then select the April 7 Agenda; it contains live links to all the reports.)

A few highlights of Tobermory paid parking: 

• Revenue was $286,000 in 2017, growing to $350,000 in 2019, and fell barely 6% in 2020 to $328,000.

• September revenues were $26,000 in 2017 but rose to $77,000 in 2020.

August revenues were $123,000 in 2017 but rose to $149,000 last year.

• $289,000 has been transferred to a parking reserve fund, from which $151,000 is earmarked for upgraded washrooms around Tobermory, most of which should be in place this summer.

Paid parking is expected to be implemented in Lion’s Head and other locations in 2021.

Council is expected to pass Bylaws on April 12 to create a parking lot at 60 Carter Road in Cape Chin South, lease the parking rights to Little Cove Rd and Chi SinTibdek Rd to Parks Canada and enter an agreement with Celtic Sports and Arts Centre to provide tourism shuttle services at Lion’s Head.

Council is expected to create new rules for parking in a number of locations, as well as implementing a system for towing offending vehicles.

Grant Watson Drive in Tobermory provides access to Mermaid’s Cove, a tiny bay on the National Park property. Visitation has far exceeded the capacity of both the road and the cove. Plans call for eliminating parking on Grant Watson Drive (as was done on Moore St in Lion’s Head) but to leave a few spaces in place for residents with parking passes.

A similar situation occurs at Dunks Bay, just south of Tobermory. The situation there is complicated by Dunks Bay Cemetery, to which locals want access, and the Bruce Trail, which passes by the cemetery. Paid parking is recommended, but perhaps some spaces will be reserved for locals with permits.

Paid parking is also expected to happen at the Black Creek Provincial Park access and the large parking lot at the top of the hill on Dyers Bay Rd.

Paid parking in Lion’s Head will affect much of the village plus the McCurdy Street parking lot and the Lion’s Head Marina parking lot. Residents (and boaters who have vessels at the marina) will receive passes.

The draft parking bylaw and supporting notes are in the (642 page!) Agenda for the April 12 Council Meeting (navigate as explained above). Plans call for the finished bylaw to be presented at the May 10 Meeting.