Heavier fine and fee schedule set ahead of 2021 tourism season

(Gazette file photo)
OLIVIA TIMM

FOR THE GAZETTE

Prince Edward County council approved increased fees and charges at Tuesday’s regular council meeting, ahead of an anticipated busy tourist season.

The County experienced a high volume of visitors to the region during the pandemic last year paired with excessive traffic volumes, illegal parking and camping, excessive garbage and littering, safety concerns and overcrowding. In light of this, the municipality tasked staff with creating a Tourism Management Plan, which is now in effect to mitigate increased tourism across the County.

Mayor of Prince Edward County Steve Ferguson. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

“The fees and charges were necessary, particularly because of safety hazards and what we witnessed last year,” Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson said. “We expect we will see some of it this year, the degree of which is unknown at this point but people will come and visit the County and abuse some of our amenities including parking, making it difficult for other visitors and local people alike.”

Coun. Jamie Forrester agreed, saying these numbers are not to make money but to enforce safety.

“If they pull up and they still want to park there, then so be it, but that is a lot of money to fork out. Most people are going to continue on by and realize this is not a good place to park.”

Effective May 1 to Oct. 31, the increased no-parking fine of $400 applies to the following areas:

  • Hillier Ward, Winn’s Drive and Sheba’s Island and the area on County Road 13 adjacent to Little Bluff Conservation Area (the same areas the temporary by-law for 2020 applied to) 
  • The areas adjacent to Sandbanks Provincial Park, including County Road 12, County Road 18 and Lakeshore Lodge Road 
  • The No Parking area on County Road 7 at the Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, expanded to include both sides of the road in that location and be included in the increased fine areas. 
  • County Road 18, extended to Salmon Point Road, and that 250 metres of the westerly limits of Salmon Point Road be designated as No Parking either side. (In summer 2020, there was a significant increase in vehicle traffic and trespassing on private property in this area.) 
  • County Road 12, both sides, from the entrance to 2028 County Road 12 to the intersection at Lakeshore Lodge Road. (This area is currently posted but not identified in the by-law). 
  • County Road 20 (Huyck’s Point Road) both sides at a distance of 200 metres from the westerly limits.

Council approved new boat launch fees at nine boat launch locations, which replace previous launching fees. The locations include Wellington Beach, McFarland Park/Loyalist Parkway, Glendon Green/County Road 18, Mabel Kleinsteuber/County Road 12, Big Island/County Road 21, Northport Centennial Park, Prinyers Cove, Rossmore/Ridley Street and Wellers Bay/Edward Drive.

The boat launch fees are set to $10 per day for a vehicle and $20 per day for a vehicle with a trailer. 

The report states it is further proposed that the annual launch pass be converted to an annual launch parking pass to be valid at any of the nine listed locations.

The annual pass for residents is $50, and will be available at all library branches and Shire Hall. Visitors pay $100 and these fees take effect on June 1.

Anyone who has already purchased a season boat launching pass for $85 under the former system will be reimbursed for the overpayment and given a season pass for parking at boat launches.

As of Saturday, May 29, Wellington Beach was free for County resident use and weekend visitors will be charged $10 per person, whether in a vehicle or walking to the beach. The beach gate is to be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 4 to Sept. 19 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Admission will be free of charge for residents with a summer 2021 pass. The passes are now available by calling any County library branch to set up curbside pick-up. To purchase a pass, bring proof of residency, such as your driver’s license or utility bill with your name and postal code). Passes are good for repeat uses and one pass may be used for a group of people such as family or friends. Passes will not be provided by mail to discourage non-resident owners from using the pass for their guests. The report also states passes are necessary while gates are staffed, even if the public are just stopping in to walk their dog or cycling through. 

There will be no advance booking at Wellington beach, is first come, first served with a maximum of 350 people permitted in, and only a portion of that number will be reserved for County residents. 

Council also approved increasing the fine for illegal camping at municipal parks, beaches and recreation from $75 to $500. 

The fines are geared to seasonal campers setting up camp illegally on municipal property and it was noted that this is not intended to apply in compassionate situations such as homelessness.