Paid parking may be on its way to Christie Beach.
“Christie beach is our most expensive property,” said Rebecca Ferguson, manager of conservation lands for Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA) during a board meeting held on Wednesday afternoon.
GSCA owns and operates Christie Beach, which sits in the municipality of Meaford, along the west boundary of the Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM).
“It costs us $5,900 a year. On top of this, due to the pandemic, I've had to hire a staff person who is typically there Friday to Sunday in the summer just to deal with the amount of people that are making their way down Highway 26 trying to find a beach,” Ferguson continued.
She explained that there is a small parking lot near the beach on Barker Street, however it can only hold about seven vehicles.
GSCA is proposing an agreement between the municipality of Meaford, TBM and GSCA that will allow the conservation authority to implement paid parking along the west side of Christie Beach Road, which is owned by the municipality of Meaford.
“Through this agreement, GSCA would pay Meaford $100 per year to charge for parking on the road allowance. This will be recuperated by the first 10 cars that pay for parking,” Ferguson continued.
She added that there is paid parking infrastructure installed at the site now, however it is currently being operated as a donation site and does not impose a fee.
“A ton of people already park at this location,” Ferguson said.
TBM has been brought into the agreement as GSCA is asking the municipality to place no-parking signs along the east side of the roadway, essentially directing traffic to park only in the designated paid parking area.
GSCA will be discussing the agreement with the municipality of Meaford at a council meeting scheduled for Monday.
“We'll have to wait and see what happens on Monday. But this is to move this process along since it's now getting into the thick of summer,” Ferguson said.
Currently, GSCA’s daily rate for parking is $10. The conservation authority also offers a seasonal member pass that is available to watershed residents for $40. A non-residents season pass is also available for $75. Season passes entitle the holder to park at any of the GSCA conservation areas.
“The revenue generated by parking at this area will assist in offsetting the costs associated with owning and operating the property,” Ferguson added.
If the municipality of Meaford rejects the agreement, Ferguson confirmed that parking at Christie Beach is expected to remain free.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca