Long weekend parking issues front and centre at Mono Council

May 27, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

Mono Council has moved to close parking on all roads in the vicinity of Mono Cliffs Provincial Park during their Tuesday (May 25) Council meeting, following lots of traffic problems on the May long weekend.

After passing numerous, more stringent, no parking orders at a special council meeting prior to the May long weekend, the results were less than spectacular in the aftermath of that holiday.

Although the efforts of police and by-law enforcement officials were to be applauded, by Monday it was obvious that more needed to be done. If parking tickets were an indication of a successful program, with more tickets indicating a loss of control and fewer showing success, Sunday proved a losing effort. Some 200 tickets were issued on that day, despite a more promising start to the weekend on Saturday.

Monday however, proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as 3rd Line south of County Road 8 had to be closed by Emergency Order to prevent blocking both sides with parked cars. Park visitors were willing to walk considerable distances in order to visit Mono Cliffs Provincial Park it appeared.

A report prepared by Mike Dunmore, Director of Public Works was presented to Council. which included several ideas.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, (MECP) had sent an email to the Town outlining key points to the problem at hand. They fully supported eliminating all parking on all roads that abut the park stating that the only access point should be the 3rd Line at the parking lot, between Mono Centre Road and 25th Sideroad to the north. The only access would be from that parking lot.

The MECP felt that if online reservations are approved, it would be hard to control from multiple parking areas. The remaining four access points are considered Emergency Access Points. The current parking allowance on 3rd Line, 2nd Line and 25th Sideroad caused user confusion and eliminating all roadside parking will free up their staff for other park specific duties.

Coun. Ralph Manktelow proposed several points for consideration at the Council meeting, stating that current parking is causing safety concerns and residential impacts. He said the current tourism was not sustainable for the environment and that the MECP should control the number of users.

He was in favour of some parking on 2nd Line north of 20th Sideroad but the no parking zone to the south should be extended by 1,000 metres with allowance for parking in front of the cemetery.

He wanted to see no parking extended on 25th Sideroad by 1,000 metres east and west on both sides, with some parking allowed on the south side of the road east of 2nd Line, while creating a new No Parking zone for 1,000 meters on the 2nd Line north of 25th Sideroad.

Coun. Manktelow also wanted the Mono Centre Road no parking area increased in consultation with the County and residents.

It was then presented for Council’s consideration that all adjoining roads abutting the park in all directions should be No Parking, while the existing zones should be increased to 2,000 metres to act as a deterrent to tourists. All adjoining zone sizes would take into consideration the end location and the resulting impact on residents and road safety. Council would also consider eliminating the existing parking zone on 3rd Line in front of the MEPC parking lot to consider disallowing parking on the east side of 2nd Line north of 25th Sideroad. Cancelling the parking in front of the cemetery on 2nd Line, and on the 25th Sideroad east of 2nd Line as well as extending the No Parking zone on the north side of 25th Sideroad to 2,000 metres

In the resulting discussion, several points were brought up by councillors. Coun. Martin wanted to know if larger No Parking signs were available as the standard 12’x12’ ones were too easily ignored. Mr. Dunmore responded that he was planning to order 24×24 inch signs and 18×18 inch signs in future.

Coun. Fred Nix again brought up the issue of Bruce Trail maintenance and suggested they be given permits to park in the No Parking zones. Town Clerk, Fred Simpson said this was totally possible and could be accomplished within 10 days. Coun. Nix went on to add that hikers of the Bruce Trail would still enter the park on foot. Coun. Martin added that many Bruce Trail users  were simply dropped off and picked up along the Trail when they finished their hike.

Deputy Mayor Creelman suggested that the parking fines were entirely too low, and proposed that they approach the Chief Justice for Ontario to raise the fines from $50 to $90 with a prepayment of $80. Staff was then instructed to make the required application and follow up.

In the end, Council opted to expand all the no parking zones to include all the perimeter roads of the park and to increase, where possible, the distances to 2,000 metres. They also voted to keep the 3rd Line closure in effect until after the no parking signs could be put up by Public Works. This, in effect, closes all roads in the vicinity of the park to parking and will hopefully control the proliferation of tourists to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park.

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