Trailhead parking prohibition back on the agenda for TBM council

·2 min read

The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) CAO says the town’s recent decision to implement parking restrictions near trailheads is not meant to be an assault on the public’s ability to access winter recreation options.

TBM council passed an amendment to its parking bylaw earlier this week, which restricts parking on 10 roads within the municipality, including Pretty River Road and 12th line.

Shawn Everitt, CAO for TBM, wants to reassure the public that the town is focused on finding a balance between road safety and the need and desire to enjoy outdoor recreation.

He says that the listed parking restrictions will not necessarily be applied to the entire length of the roadways but rather focused on “hazard situations.”

“The intent of the additional no parking areas is not to restrict parking along the entire stretches of the indicated roads,” Everitt said.

“The focus is on specific areas of concern and where hazard situations have been experienced and identified, such as areas where cars commonly park on both sides of the road, where there are bends in the road and where parking may prevent access to residential laneways,” he continued.

Since passing the amendment on Wednesday, TBM has received mixed responses in regards to the restrictions with some residents expressing relief over safety concerns and others voicing their disappointment about the added obstacle in accessing their favourite trails.

“Generally citizens who have emailed council agree that unsafe parking needs to be dealt with, but they regret the impact on their ability to get out and enjoy nature, especially in this COVID lockdown environment,” said TBM councillor Rob Sampson.

Sampson has asked the issue be placed on the agenda for TBM’s special Committee of the Whole meeting that is scheduled for Monday, so that “we can clarify some confusion that seems to be circulating in the community and so that we can also consider the issues and concerns raised by residents,” he said.

“Some residents have suggested changes that will allow limited and controlled parking in the impacted areas and we can consider the merits of that as well. We can also consider if there are options for paid parking in some of the locations,” Sampson added.

The current parking bylaw, as written, is only in effect until April 2021, at which point the restrictions will be re-evaluated.

According to the town’s communications department, TBM has held several meetings with Grey County and officials from neighbouring municipalities to look at what options are available to expand and create more and better parking options near trailhead locations ahead of the summer months.

In addition, a review of parking throughout TBM is currently underway and a staff report with recommendations is expected to be brought forward to council in the Spring.

TBM’s Special Committee of the Whole is scheduled to take place on Monday at 9 a.m.

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca