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LETTER: Seasonal Tay resident says boat launch plan lacks clarity

'Tay Council’s proposed implementation of parking permits at the Victoria Harbour boat launch ramp is targeting the wrong problem/issue,' writer says
Tay boat launch in Victoria Harbour pictured during summer last year.

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I’ve been following this issue in MidlandToday for some time.

Tay Council’s proposed implementation of parking permits at the Victoria Harbour boat launch ramp is targeting the wrong problem/issue. Yes, I get it. Nuisance parking complaints to the Township become a headache for councillors trying to appease their constituents.

Non-residents, whoever they are, have often been cited as the principal culprits by permanent residents, because the existing parking lot fills up on the weekends.

Maybe, it’s just that more people, local and otherwise, go boating more on the weekends.

And what about the seasonal owners of properties in Tay? There’s been no mention of this cohort.

Are they considered residents that are eligible for a permit, or are they the non-residents described by some as taking all of the parking spaces? Seasonal owners, as a collective, probably pay more to the tax base of the Township than full-time contingent does.

Will they get permits too? Need to be explicit!

Finding a true solution to a problem requires that you first develop a good understanding of the real problem/issue.

Does the Township really even understand the true problem, or is this just a knee-jerk reaction to reduce complaints? What is the problem? The ‘wrong’ kind of people using ‘our’ free boat ramp?

Not enough parking for the number of people using the ramp? People parking too long?

Design of the ramp and parking area too constrained or ineffective for the size of the vehicles and boat trailers now used? Not enough free ramps in the area? Should the ramp be free to use at all?

The problem isn’t that the non-residents are using the free ramp and consuming available parking that precludes local resident use.

The problems are twofold - the Township operating the only free boat ramp in the area and that there is not enough parking capacity provided at the facility.

Does the Township really need a free boat ramp at all, given the number of access opportunities available at nearby area marinas? Why? Get rid of the free status of the boat ramp and the parking issue likely disappears and bylaw enforcement effort drops.

Could the ramp and parking area be consigned to a contracted operator to manage paid access or would this now put the Township in direct competition with area marinas?

If the Township does need to operate a free ramp, which is seemingly rare in other municipalities, then it needs to either provide suitable and sustainable parking (either on-site or off-site nearby), restrict parking duration, or simply remove parking altogether.

Issuing an unlimited number of free parking permits to residents is not going to solve anything in the long-term. Sure, you’ll finally be able to clearly define who is occupying the few parking spaces available, but congestion will still occur. Then what?

Understanding the real underlying problem is always a challenge…but needs to be done before developing a real solution!

David Wilson