By John Francis, Bruce Peninsula Press
Minch Deck Highest Priority
Tobermory Chamber of Commerce held its Spring Annual General Meeting on Zoom on Thursday, May 12.
Chamber members passed a unanimous motion in support of the Minch Anchor Deck, a proposed viewing platform along the south side of Little Tub Harbour. The motion makes it clear that this is the Chamber’s highest priority for infrastructure improvements. Members and Executive alike agreed that the project would make the head of the harbour a much more inviting place. Chamber President Griffin Salen pointed out that it would also offer visitors, business owners and taxpayers a clear example of what’s being accomplished with paid parking revenues.
Northern Bruce Peninsula’s new Short-Term Accommodation regulations include a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax on STA revenues. Under provincial regulations, half that revenue must be given to an arms-length agency, to be spent to improve tourism.
Chamber President Salen explained to members that the Chamber is continuing to negotiate with the municipality with a view to becoming that agency. To take on that role, Salen said, the Chamber will have to expand its frame of reference to encompass the whole municipality.
Bumpy Ride for Lion’s Head Shuttle
MNBP’s May 9 Council Meeting saw Council trying to find a way to bring the Lion’s Head shuttle back for 2022. Council members and staff spoke favourably of the service Lion’s Head Transit Authority provided last year and there seemed a strong consensus that it should run again in 2022. But the devil is in the details.
Somebody has to pay for the service. Collecting money from riders is not practical, for a variety of reasons. A system of sharing parking revenues seemed to be the most sensible solution. The required budget would be somewhere over $40,000.
But there are strict rules governing payments to private companies. For any expenditure over $25,000, the municipality needs three competitive bids. Anything over $75,000 needs to go out to tender.
Getting three bids would mean finding two other companies willing to offer a shuttle service in Lion’s Head. This might be difficult.
Some Councillors wondered if the service was really needed all week — would weekend-only service be enough?
Tim Matheson of Lion’s Head Transit Authority estimated his costs to be approximately $350 per day, plus the capital cost of buying or leasing the bus. He explained that the numbers would change if the service were to only run on weekends. Also, it might be difficult to find drivers who would be willing to work weekends only.
Mayor Milt McIver and Councillors Megan Myles and Smokey Golden all felt that there is a public benefit to having a shuttle operating in Lion’s Head. Deputy Mayor Debbie Myles opposed the idea, saying that we need to step back, look at the capacity first and not make decisions on the fly.
No decision was reached. A Request For Proposals will be initiated and the CAO will report back at a future meeting.