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Ontario City Considers Non-Resident Paid Parking System For Parks, Facilities

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Owen Sound council will be receiving an update from city staff to consider a possible parking fee for non-residents. According to a report, the paid parking system will be at several of the city’s parks and other facilities.

However, the plan didn’t require a resolution from the council at the Monday meeting. There already was one in budget talks the previous year.

Deputy Mayor Brian O’Leary had provided notice that he’d present a motion to the council at their meeting on Monday. The action would direct staff to submit an idea of how a paid parking program for non-residents could be put in place in 2022 at Harrison Park and Kelso Beach with the possibility of extending the system to other locations.

O’Leary’s plan does not call for Owen Sound residents to pay any parking charges. The proposal also considers exemptions for specific customers, like tenants who stay at the Harrison Park campground.

The city’s deputy mayor cited an annual deficit in infrastructure for $3.1 million and the requirement for more than $5 million of capital investments in parks and park buildings in the coming five years. He suggested that a pay-per-parking system for non-residents can generate some income and relieve the city’s taxpayers from having to bear the entire expense of keeping parks open to everyone.

He then retracted the motion in Monday’s council meeting after it was revealed that the council had agreed to a resolution on the staff’s report regarding parking fees for non-residents at various city parks and facilities. The resolution was introduced by O’Leary himself during budget discussions on December 3 of 2020.

City manager Tim Simmonds says it was an “administrative oversight.” He anticipates that the staff report regarding paid parking options for Owen Sound for non-residents at various parks and facilities will not be presented to the council until at least the final day of this year.

The council resolution passed in December of 2020 was to ask staff to conduct a study and then submit an update on the non-resident fee to park at Bayshore Community Centre, Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre, Harrison Park, Kelso Beach, and other locations that were suggested by staff.

The motion also directed the staff to ensure that the study has options to handle contracts like those of the YMCA, Owen Sound Attack, Harrison Park Inn, and Summerfolk and also consider alternatives for park fees and yearly passes, as well as start-up costs and revenue projections and also recommendations for what the revenues will be spent on.

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