Friday, May 14, 2021

Paid Parking Pilot Delayed Until After Provincial Shutdown

A planned paid parking pilot project that was to have launched in the municipality on May 1, will be delayed until after the current provincial stay at home order has been lifted. Currently the stay at home order is expected to be in effect until May 20.

During Council’s budget deliberations in early November, staff was directed to prepare a report advising on the potential for a pay to park system and the revenues it could generate. At their November 30 meeting staff provided Council with a report that included four options for the potential implementation of a pay to park system.

Due to a number of factors, including marketing the region as a tourism destination, high water levels limiting waterfront access opportunities in neighbouring municipalities, and COVID-19, Meaford’s parks and beach areas are experiencing more use,” staff advised Council. “Additional pressures include an increased amount of solid waste, increased washroom use, water/sewer use, limited parking, and limited park or beach space for use. Creating a paid parking program may reduce the use of the parks but primarily create revenue to help offset costs for the additional use.”

Council gave initial approval to an option provided by staff that would implement a fee for parking at all municipal parking lots located at parks and open spaces. Residents of the municipality as well as boaters with slips at the harbour and campers at Memorial Park will not be required to pay for parking with the option chosen by Council.

At their April 12 meeting, Council gave Committee of the Whole approval to the establishment of the pilot project as well as the implementation of a new municipal parking bylaw. Only Councillor Ross Kentner voted against the agenda item as he had done in November when the plan was first brought to Council. Kentner expressed concern that implementation of paid parking for visitors would harm Meaford’s brand.

Locations that will be subject to parking fees for non-residents are:

  • Beautiful Joe Park
  • David Johnson Park
  • Fred Raper Park
  • Irish Mountain Lookout
  • Legion Park
  • Leith Beach
  • Meaford Harbour
  • Memorial Park
  • St. Vincent Park

Once implemented, non-residents will have to pay a $10 fee per location, per day. A season pass will also be available at a cost of $100.

Paid parking will be required between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days a week. This time was specifically chosen to ensure early morning users of the spaces such as at the harbour and Legion Park for anglers would not require payment. This also means that evening uses for special events such as fireworks displays and car club events would not have to pay after 6 p.m.,” staff advised Council in a report presented at the April 12 meeting.

Paid parking will be in effect between May and October 31 to coincide with the opening and closing of the park properties.

As per prior Council direction, daily rates have been set at $10 for all locations. Honk Mobile provides two options for payment on location. Users can access the portal by downloading the Honk app which is supported by all major phone brands. As well, each location will include signage that has a QR code. When scanned by a mobile device the QR will direct people to the Honk website where payment can be made. Lastly, should a user not have access to a cell phone, the Meaford Public Library is open seven days a week (unless COVID restrictions are in place) with public computer access to allow people the opportunity to pay directly through Honk’s website,” staff advised.

Staff told Council that various alternative service providers were reviewed, including those used by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Wasaga Beach, Barrie, and South Bruce Peninsula (Sauble Beach).

Ultimately, staff decided to enter into a one (1) year service agreement with Honk Mobile who is the same provider used by Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM). TBM underwent a full procurement process that meets Meaford’s Purchasing Policy in 2020 to select Honk Mobile. As part of the TBM agreement there were ‘piggyback’ provisions in place which allow Meaford to execute an agreement under the same contract terms,” staff advised.

Staff are anticipating the generation of roughly $70,000 annually from the paid parking project.

Meaford residents and property owners will not have to pay for parking at municipal parks. Window stickers will be issued free of charge to those who apply.

Stickers will be available starting after the Provincial Lockdown at the Administration Office (21 Trowbridge Street West) or the Meaford Public Library (11 Sykes Street North).

To be issued your sticker, you will need to bring your:

  • Driver’s licence
  • Vehicle ownership

The one-year pilot project will be reviewed by Council prior to next year’s budget process.

Given this is a one-year pilot project, data will be provided to Council in October to form part of future budget deliberations to determine if this is a viable revenue generating opportunity that can be used to offset increased costs to maintain park spaces and provide enhanced by-law services during the summer months,” staff advised Council.

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