Citizens continue to complain about Central Elgin Council’s controversial new parking restrictions in Port Stanley.
Criticisms of the parking restrictions were levelled at Ward 2 Councillor and mayoral candidate Dennis Crevits during a recent all-candidates meet-and-greet at the Port Stanley Fire Hall Market.
Crevits reported the negative feedback at Council’s September 12, 2022 meeting, and asked municipal staff to develop a “comprehensive report” to guide political debate on the matter after the October 24, 2022 municipal election.
“This needs to be discussed again,” Crevits told Council. “The parking isn’t right, the way that it is now. Something has to change, and we need some better details.”
Central Elgin’s User Fee Committee – chaired by Deputy Mayor Tom Marks – recommended in November 2021 to expand the village’s off-street parking network after a review of the $412,317 that the municipality generated from 5.2 acres of space on four lots. The committee was fulfilling Council’s strategic plan, searching for revenues outside the tax base.
For 2022, Council accepted the committee’s recommendation to add another 4.58 acres of off-street parking space with a fifth lot, generating up to $336,016 in additional revenue.
The off-street parking lots operate daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., from May 1 to September 30. The costs at the off-street municipal parking lots are now $4 per hour, $20 per day, and $30 per day if users have a trailer. A single vehicle season pass costs $100. A season pass for a single vehicle with a boat trailer is $120.
In April, Council unanimously supported Port Stanley Business Improvement Area recommendations, calling for two-hour parking limits on downtown streets, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., throughout the summer busy season.
However the annual crush of tourists parking on village streets and the flood of cars in off-street lots generated considerable frustration.
In June 2022, Councilors endorsed bylaw amendments proposed by Ward 1 Councilor Colleen Row, now a candidate for Deputy Mayor.
With Row’s plan, the two-hour limit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. was lifted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The limit was still enforced on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. It affected parking on Colonel Bostwick, Bridge, Hetty, Colborne and Joseph streets.
Council also waived paid parking fees in the municipal lot behind the I.D.A. Highland Drug Mart, at 222 Colborne Street, also from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Paid parking was, however, enforced on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.
“This is going to come up for discussion again and I think if we have a detailed assessment of which parking lot is used and to see what type of revenue is being generated in Port Stanley, we can figure out what changes need to be made,” Crevits told Council.
Crevits said some of the critics suggested using a tram to move people between the beach and the parking lot at the Port Stanley Arena and Community Centre.
“We have certainly had lots of suggestions on ways to change and improve,” said Mayor Sally Martyn.
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