Resident brings up concerns over parking changes at Mono Cliffs

June 10, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

The topic of parking in relation to Mono Cliffs Provincial Park was top of mind during Mono’s Tuesday (June 7) Council meeting.

During Question Period there was a question about all of the No Parking Zones recently created by Council surrounding the Park.

This question came from Elaine Kehoe, a local business owner in Mono Centre. She stated that Mono has gone from a welcoming community, to a gated community, with closed roads and no parking everywhere.

She mentioned that she used to walk every morning in Mono Cliffs and was now faced with a $250 dollar fine for driving on a closed road to get there. She said that the residents of Mono paid for those roads but were not allowed to use them.

Ms. Kehoe emphasized that residents were now told where they could drive and asked how Council could justify closing the Mono Centre parking lot where residents took their children to use the facilities.

She stated that on Saturday last week, a few privileged cars were allowed in the ninth lot while hundreds were turned away and asked who was allowed to use the gated parking lot?

She said she was told that the Recreation Department had asked that it be closed to reduce the environmental impact on the Park. Ms. Kehoe added that there was more environmental impact now, with only one entrance to the Park being used by everyone.

She noted that the Park needed more entrances, not less.

Ms. Kehoe went on to ask if Council had considered the adverse impact to the local businesses, including her real estate office, which depend upon foot traffic to survive. She wanted to see a reversal or at least reconsideration of the closures and no parking zones.

Mayor Ryan explained that the closures were due to the Town being overwhelmed with the influx of visitors, many of whom were not using required COVID protections and exhibited unruly behaviours, some of which resulted in OPP intervention.

She stated that the closures were to allow the Parks staff to determine what was the correct number of entrances for just hiking and not parking, and how to best control the crowds.

Mayor Ryan said it was a very complex issue but Council was not thinking these responses were permanent – they were just trying to see what would occur after the next round of openings from the province.

Coun. Sharon Martin noted that the Town had received compliments from the residents of Mono Centre regarding the parking control. She said that the Mono Centre parking lot was for Mono residents and that it and the Town could not and would not accommodate the GTA.

Coun. Martin added that people were directed to Earl Rowe Park instead. She also explained that the entrance to Mono Cliffs was chosen because it could handle the volume whereas 2nd Line could not due to its environmental concerns. She agreed that local people should be able to use the park and Council would work that out.

Coun. Fred Nix added that Council had at first allowed more parking but that when this was abused, it was Mono Cliffs Provincial Park who asked that there be “No Parking” around the whole perimeter of the Park.

Both Coun. Ralph Manktelow and Deputy Mayor Creelman tried to assure Ms. Kehoe that Council was aware of her concerns and that some form of compromise and relief would be forthcoming, but that first the crisis had to be controlled.

Mr. Creelman felt that the road closures would be the first thing to be considered and that parking restrictions were not necessarily permanent, or perhaps year-round. Both councillors applauded the reservation system that Parks Ontario had implemented and felt this would be a strong tool to control the influx of visitors.

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