Tay residents will get back their boat launch this summer with new parking changes to be approved by council by month's end.
The parking areas around the boat launch will now only be available to residents, who can apply for a parking permit to use the spots on 110 and 145 Albert St. in Victoria Harbour. The free permits, one per household, will be available to all township property owners. The municipality is not restricting the total number that will be issued each year.
For Marie Gagne, who uses the boat launch up to three times a week this is great news.
"(It's) so hard to find parking on weekends," the Victoria Harbour resident said, "and very frustrating when you know spots are taken by non-Tay residents who want to use our free boat launch."
Another resident also agreed.
"I, as a boater, only use the ramp to launch our boats in spring and fall," said Chris Cavelaire. "This is a good idea. I would even buy a $50 pass to help repair the ramp again."
Other residents were a bit cautious that this was just a temporary solution.
"I assume this will include the many cottagers that visit the township over the summer," said Fran Roosen. "It’s a Bandaid solution for the real problem, which, in my opinion, is a lack of planning for the resident and tourist needs for the township.
"I live in Tay and have difficulty finding a parking spot to launch my boat," she added. "The prices charged by the local marina are too high. I’m not sure I would be able to park even with a permit. It’s getting too close to the situation Tiny is in with beach parking."
Roosen was also of the opinion that there should be boat launches in Port McNicoll and Waubaushene.
"We are a beautiful township on the water; we have ball diamonds and skating rinks in each community," said Roosen. "Why not boat launches with adequate parking? Think of the future and how we could market the township as a boating and fishing destination that embraces and enhances the fact that we are situated on beautiful Georgian Bay and welcome cottagers and day trippers to enjoy the water along with the residents."
These changes were presented in a staff report during a recent council committee meeting.
Rob Kennedy, municipal law enforcement officer, later provided some details to MidlandToday via email.
"We are changing the boat launch area so that residents are able to park in the parking spaces provided in both areas referenced in the report," he wrote. "Vehicles with trailers will not be able to park in the designated parking spots at 110 Albert and 145 Albert without displaying a municipal parking permit. This permit will only be available for Tay Township property owners."
There are no new locations for parking, added Kennedy, the change allows only those displaying a valid municipal parking permit to use the space for their vehicles and trailers.
He said that depending on the sizes of vehicles and trailers, up to 11 spots will be available at 110 Albert St. And during permitted hours, an additional 12 spaces will be up for grabs at 145 Albert St.
These changes do not affect the four spots at 110 Albert St. that are built for regular-sized vehicles, Kennedy added.
While residents will enjoy parking by the boat launch, visitors and tourists will be encouraged to launch and park their trailers at neighbouring marinas where that service is provided, he wrote.
The township will be releasing more information via its communications channels in the next few weeks, said Kennedy in his email.
"We will be creating a pamphlet that will accompany tickets at the start of the boating season to advise people that the spots are now for people who have a valid municipal parking permit," he wrote. "The fines are consistent with what is already issued in that area at $60 early payment and $80 set fine.
"Vehicles can be towed at an officer's discretion if a ticket is issued but always used as a last resort and usually happens when there is an immediate traffic issue or a vehicle has been issued multiple tickets in the same area."
The new parking rules will come into effect when council passes the bylaw at its March 24 meeting.