By John Francis, Bruce Peninsula Press
MNBP’s parking bylaw for 2022 has been approved by Council. The short-form wording has been sent to the provincial Crown for approval. Draft parking maps have been released; they are included here to help residents understand how this year’s system will work.
The biggest challenge for staff and Council was finding the best set of compromises for Lion’s Head. Downtown businesses suffered a sharp loss of business from paid parking in 2021 and wanted free parking restored on Main and Webster Streets. Residents wanted time-limited parking to prevent those downtown parking spaces being taken up by beachgoers and Bruce Trail hikers. Ratepayers wanted to maximize paid parking revenues to cover the costs of bylaw enforcement, porta-potties and other tourism-related expenses. Some residents complained that their quiet streets were overrun with daytripper parking in 2020 which left no room for friends and family to visit, while in 2021, their friends and family still couldn’t visit because the street was posted “No Parking”. They wanted their streets to allow free parking but for residents only.
Council and staff put a lot of effort into getting it right for 2022. Three blocks of Main St and two blocks of Webster St are two-hour free parking. The most desirable parking spaces for visitors — those closest to the beach, the marina and the Lion’s Head Lookout — will be $5 per hour/$30 per day. Less desirable spots will be $3 per hour/$15 per day.
The system will be reevaluated in the fall and changed as necessary for 2023.
The paid parking system in Tobermory received only minor tweaks. The largest change will be to parking on Little Cove Road, where a ParkPass system will be implemented, like the one at McCurdy Drive in Lion’s Head. ParkPass requires that you have a reservation before entering the lot. Reservations are free for residents/cottagers but time limits still apply. Municipal staff request that residents get reservations even in the off-season, to help with record-keeping.
Parking at all locations will be free for residents and cottagers although they will still have to obey time limits.
Parking passes are available to all owners of “improved properties”, which means houses or cottages — two passes per property. Passes will be issued to either the owner of a property or a long-term tenant (but not both). The passes are tied to specific vehicles and can not be used for other vehicles.
Last Year’s Passes Still Valid
Last year’s passes do not need to be renewed — they’re still valid; you don’t need to do anything.
For new owners, new tenants or new vehicles, passes can be issued by mail, email or in person at the municipal office. You will need a driver’s licence or other photo ID, the ownership of the vehicle in question and a copy of your tax bill or proof of tenancy. Read the regulations before you go. Complete parking pass details can be found at www.northernbrucepeninsula.ca/parking
Tentative Agreement to Fix Cabot Head Road
Three charities — Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association and Friends of Cabot Head Lightstation — rely on Cabot Head Road for their operations. When the road washed out in the winter of 2019-2020, things got very awkward for all three. They formed a consortium and have been working tirelessly to find a way to regain access to Cabot Head without causing a dramatic increase in traffic through the hamlet of Dyers Bay.
They negotiated with a variety of stakeholders and proposed that Cabot Head Rd be closed and converted to a pedestrian/cycling trail which could serve as an emergency/stakeholder access road. They (successfully) applied for a $125,000 Trillium Grant and negotiated other discounts and in-kind donations to move the project forward. This plan ran into unexpected resistance from Northern Bruce residents who have traditionally used the road for recreational purposes and would loose access if it were converted to a pedestrian/cycling trail.
Further research by the municipality revealed many complications. Designating a roadway for pedestrians and cyclists only has insurance and other implications which would need to be resolved. Also, it turned out that while the right-of-way expropriation process was initiated 60 years ago, it was never completed and the landowners were never paid. This means that the municipality has the rights to the wheel-track roadbed but that’s all. There is also concern that all the properties the road accesses belong to the provincial or federal government. Why should the municipality be responsible for the upkeep of the road?
After many months of delegations and negotiations, a tentative agreement was reached at Council’s March 28 Meeting. Councillor Smokey Golden proposed that the road be closed to public motor vehicle traffic during the busiest weeks of summer but be open the rest of the year. The Municipality will approve a work permit to activate the Trillium grant, on the understanding that the grant will cover repairs to three of the four major washouts on the road. The fourth — and worst — washout will require an engineered solution.
Council recognized and applauded the extensive work done by the consortium of charities to make this project possible.
The municipality will go back to all the stakeholders to fine-tune the terms of access.
Conflict of Interest Complaints Dismissed
Two anonymous complaints were lodged with MNBP’s Integrity Commissioner, alleging that Councillor James Mielhausen had a conflict of interest on the subject of the 10:00PM closure of the Burma Road Boat Launch because he owns property in the area.
Integrity Commissioner Harold Elston dismissed the complaints, finding that having property in the area does not amount to a pecuniary interest.
Electric Vehicle Chargers Proposed for Tobermory
A company called ChargerQuest proposes to put six Level-3 EV charging stations at the south corner of the community centre parking lot in Tobermory (beside parkette). Level 3 chargers would replenish the power required to drive up from Toronto or London in about half an hour. (The current Level 2 chargers on the peninsula would take about six hours to do this.)
ChargerQuest would remit 10% of revenues to MNBP.
Councillors expressed several concerns. Deputy Mayor Debbie Myles noted that MNBP would be giving up the parking revenue from those six spaces. Councillor Megan Myles suggested that six Level 3 chargers was probably more than are needed and that the revenue estimates might therefore be too high. Councillor Golden pointed out that those parking spaces are right beside the picnic/barbecue area. She was concerned that the installation might be unsightly but also that it would displace people parking to use the picnic area.
Council deferred its decision on the proposal. (See Publisher’s Column here)