Letter: Disappointed In Council For Deciding To Remove More Parking Spaces In Downtown Tobermory


I’m writing to say how disappointed I am in our council for deciding to remove 22 more parking spaces, in addition to the 6 previously removed in the downtown parking lot, from public parking use. They’ve converted them to private parking for boat and dive tour operators, their staff, their customers and maintenance personnel only. Eight of the 22 are now home to benches, flower pots and garbage receptacles for guests to enjoy sitting on the hot pavement directly in front of the boat launch. This means more than 66 cars per day with our families, our guests, and our customers do not have access to the amenities in the downtown core. These amenities include parking, shops, food, drinking water, washrooms, information, and harbour access among other things. This also means the municipality can lose tens of thousands of dollars per year just from the 22 parking space fees alone.

 As John Francis said in The Bruce Peninsula Press June 4 2021: The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula first introduced paid parking in Tobermory in 2017 as a way to pay for the manpower and infrastructure needed to manage the influx of visitors. The intention was to provide funding for washrooms and porta-potties, pay for extra Bylaw Enforcement personnel evenings and weekends and build up a reserve for future improvement projects. We’ve been waiting since 2017 for the Municipality to give us documentation showing where all our parking money has gone to. We still haven’t received it. 

The shops and food services were not consulted or notified of these changes. We were shocked and disappointed to see a handful of people on council change the structure and dynamics of our downtown with very little consideration of the smaller businesses who depend on it. There were several letters of concerns sent to the Municipal Councilors yet not one Councilor acknowledged receipt of them to the authors.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the complaints from locals and visitors about downtown Tobermory. To name a few “It’s too busy” “There’s no parking” “The parking machines aren’t working”. So does it make sense to remove more parking spaces, put more picnic tables and benches on the pavement, and blame the visitors for not using the “right” credit card? Or would it make sense to have more parking, some crosswalks and change machines, along with better communication?

As a shop owner who depends on convenient parking for our visitors and residents, I’m feeling the pinch from the big wigs neglecting a big part of the Tobermory experience. They’re making it harder for people to enjoy the restaurant and shopping experience and they’re making it harder for small business to survive in these already difficult times.

Susan Griffith

Reader’s Haven Book Store