Parking Rate Increases Planned

In response to citizen concerns about waterfront/ beach parking, staff have spent considerable time coming up with plans to respond. They propose significant changes in recommended rates and areas metered with four related plans: 1) expansion of places where parking fees are charged with a new daily pass proposed; 2) seasonal passes for residents, both located near the waterfront and elsewhere; 3) increases of rates downtown and changes in passes; 4) improved provision for those needing accessible parking.  A fifth plan to separate downtown lots into tiers was deferred until there is experience of the other changes.  Considerable input has already been received from advisory committees and citizens but staff are recommending a public information meeting on 7 February and hope for a decision at the CoW Council meeting on 14 February.

The staff report is 14 pages long and includes a lot of information – but below is my summary.  The full report is available from the Links below and includes revenue and cost estimates.  These are omitted from the summary because in the end, I doubt that these will be the major factors in any decision.

Expansion of Paid Waterfront Parking Areas

Figure 4 below shows the area to be categorised for waterfront parking (click to expand). This adds 176 paid spaces.  Note that there would be a drop-off zone on King St. in front of St. Peters. Below are details on how residents’ needs are accommodated.

Figure 4 Proposed Waterfront
Figure 4 Proposed Waterfront

Note that all fees for parking are shown separately below the following details.

New Daily Waterfront Pass

It is not practical to install Pay and Display machines or meters in the residential areas.  Paid parking in these new residential areas will be best managed by issuing a daily parking pass that will only be available for purchase online either in advance or on the day of use. Passes will not be required to be printed or displayed as the license plate will be registered to the paid pass instantaneously. By-law enforcement will simply have to enter the license plate number to check if parking has been paid.

Upon the purchase of a pass, purchasers will be required to read and acknowledge that parking is only available on a first come first served basis, there will be no guarantee of obtaining a parking spot, and there will be no refunds if a spot cannot be located. Daily passes will be valid for all areas outlined in the waterfront parking area – that’s per the map above (new residential area plus all existing waterfront lots), but not downtown.

As a result of public comments received (see links below), the hours of enforcement will be limited to between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. This will allow the local daycare business to continue operation with parent drop off and pick up times existing outside of the enforcement hours. The proposed enforcement time will also allow for local residents to have visitors come and go more easily and for residents to park in front of their homes before and after typical working hours without having to obtain a pass.

Passes for All Residents of Cobourg

Proposed New Resident Waterfront Seasonal Pass

In response to the Beach User Survey and Waterfront Working Group’s suggestion, staff are proposing that a resident waterfront seasonal pass be established. The resident pass would be valid for the same time period as all waterfront paid parking is enforced between Victoria Day and Thanksgiving. Passes would be valid at all waterfront parking areas as well as the southeast waterfront neighbourhood (see map above).

In order for a resident to purchase a waterfront seasonal pass, documentation will be required showing proof of ownership or residence. Seasonal resident waterfront passes are proposed to cost the same as a daily pass (that is, the rate for one day) with the exception of residents who live in the southeast waterfront neighbourhood who will receive a 50% discount.

Resident only Parking Lot

In response to the Beach User Survey, a new pilot is also being proposed to try utilizing the Charles Street parking lot as ‘resident only’ parking. Only those who have purchased a Resident Waterfront Seasonal Pass will have a first-come-first served opportunity to park in the Charles Street lot. No other passes will be valid at the Charles Street lot.

Downtown On-Street Parking

Rates consideration

Should an increase be applied to the waterfront parking rates, a downtown (lots and metered) parking rate increase is also required otherwise beach goers could tend to park further away in the downtown core where cheaper rates exist for the day.

Proposed Daily Pass Changes

Currently there is a $5/day parking pass available that is valid in any downtown municipal parking lot. Considering the proximity of many parking lots in Cobourg to the beach, this is an extremely low rate for parking especially during the summer months. In order to establish increased waterfront parking rates, the daily pass is being recommended to increase in fees as well as be limited to only the Covert Street parking lot since that it is the furthest away from the waterfront area.

Parking Ticket Fine Changes

Currently the fine for not paying or parking beyond an expired meter/pay & display ranges from $20 to $30. With an increase in daily and monthly rates it will also be imperative that parking fines are increased accordingly.

Meters on King Street West of Spring

Also, in 2022, staff are proposing to implement paid parking with credit card meters on King Street (north side) between Spring Street and Ball Street. Currently these parking spots permit 1-hour free parking however turnover is reported to be minimal or non-existent. Meters have never existed at this location.

Maximum Time Allotment

As recommended in the 2014 parking study, the maximum parking time allotment for a downtown metered area should be reduced from eight (8) hours to encourage turnover of shoppers and discourage beach/daily parking in close proximity to businesses. Staff are suggesting a three (3) hour time limit which does not prohibit parking for longer than three hours, however it requires the meter/pay and display machine to be topped up every three hours either manually or online utilizing Honk mobile.

Proposed New Resident Accessible Parking Permit

This permit would be available for Cobourg residents with Ontario issued Accessible Parking Permits to purchase at a cost equal to the seasonal resident waterfront pass and equal to the downtown parking lot pass. The pass would allow residents with an accessible permit to park anywhere where paid parking is permitted, including on street parking in the downtown, and not have to pay at location. Staff have over the years heard that those with Accessible Permits want to be treated equitably and pay for parking like everyone else.

Some ideas won’t work

The staff report said:

  • Under the heading “Proposed New Paid waterfront parking areas”, the staff report says: “Buying a visitor parking pass for the waterfront in advance is too much of a risk since there would be a good chance that there is no available paid waterfront parking remaining by the time they arrive”  But not explained is how this concern is reconciled with “Proposed New Daily Waterfront Pass” – see full report available in links below.
  • Regarding the Waterfront Working Group’s suggestion to have permit only or reserved parking spaces for purchase in waterfront lots, this would not be recommended.  Each parking space would have to be identifiable either by signs or pavement markings. Signs can easily be stolen or relocated; pavement markings are not feasible in gravel lots (as in Albert St. lot). It would be expected that people who have reserved a spot will find their spot already occupied upon their arrival and By-law / police would be inundated with calls and complaints to have cars removed/towed and/or for refunds

Recommended New Rates for Downtown

Impact on revenue is available in full report – see Links

Monthly Downtown Parking Lot Pass

Year Rate / Month
2008 $25.00
2017- 2019 $15.00
Year Proposed Rate
2022 $25.00
2023 $30.00
2024 $35.00

Daily Downtown Parking Permit Rate

Year Rate/ Day
2017 – 2019 $5.00 – all lots
Year Proposed Rate
2022 $8.00 – Covert lot only
2023 $8.00 – Covert lot only
2024 $10.00 – Covert lot only

Downtown Parking Rate (King St etc)

Year Rate / Hour
2017 – 2019 $1.00
Year Proposed Rate
2022 $1.25
2023 $1.75
2024 $2.25

New 3-hour maximum parking time allotment

Waterfront Parking Rates

Existing Paid Parking Areas – metered

Current Hourly Current Daily Rate
$2.00 $16.00 (max 8 hours)
Proposed Hourly Proposed Daily Rate (pass)
$5.00 $40.00

Proposed daily rate is for 11 hours of enforced paid parking 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.

Residential Waterfront Seasonal Parking Pass Rate

Proposed Seasonal Rate Customer
$20.00 Resident of southeast neighbourhood area
$40.00 Other resident

Season pass is valid from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving and in all waterfront parking areas.

There is a lot for Councillors and the public to follow – I don’t envy the job staff have of explaining all this at their public meeting. However, given the public’s concern about waterfront parking, these proposals seem to be in line with majority thinking.

Council are not being asked to approve all these changes at the 24 January CoW meeting – they are just being asked that they approve that these recommendations go to a public meeting on 7 February and then to a CoW meeting on 14 February.


Staff Documents about these recommendations

Link Source: Cobourg News Blog

Previous mentions at Council Meetings

Link Source: Town of Cobourg web site

Earlier Posts

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2 years ago

Parking beef – not the cost but rather the lack working machines to dispense the dash-tickets. If I’m having to walk 5 mins to find an operating machine I’m probably going to take the chance that I can get my bis done before the enforcer arrives. Maybe that is part of their plan to increase revenues – hope not.

Dave Chomitz
2 years ago

“Upon the purchase of a pass, purchasers will be required to read and acknowledge that parking is only available on a first come first served basis, there will be no guarantee of obtaining a parking spot, and there will be no refunds if a spot cannot be located.”

Who in their right mind would think anyone would buy a parking spot on line, pack up the family, drive to Cobourg, find out the spots are all taken then drive home again. They’ll be parking anywhere they want to and pleading they didn’t understand. In the end there will be tons of refunds and more overhead.

You’d think someone would at least cap the number of spots sold per day or something.

Reply to  Dave Chomitz
2 years ago

Use your phone and buy it once you are in location in a parking spot that is the great thing about it being available on line.

2 years ago

Fed up? It is only 30 minutes to Presqu’ile. Probably the same time to Conor’s Whitby beach!!

2 years ago

Up go our Taxes again What is this going to Cost to Implement ??????
How many more new parking machines are required ??
Maintenance cost of those machines ??
How many New Full time Jobs and Wages will this be costing us all ??
or are these seasonal jobs only ??
How much Income thats Net income or Loss is expected ???
And what about the Second st Parking lot why is it not part of the plan ??
after all its the biggest Parking lot that the Town Leases

Reply to  Sandpiper
2 years ago

Maybe Second St. parking lot will be developed into something. Perhaps condos with businesses such as offices and a pot store on ground level. Every new service requires new employees to collect the parking fees, issue tickets, maintain equipment and manage the whole thing. Yesterday I was talking to my neighbour. He did not understand why the snow plow went by in the morning when the road was bare. Some snow was pushed across the front of his driveway. Later in the day it happened again. More work for town employees. There is a parking issue so either something has to be done or we just deal with it. Either way there will be lots of complaints. Hopefully we can find a low cost solution.

Reply to  Sandpiper
2 years ago

Look 12 Town employees responded Probably from Home

Reply to  Sandpiper
2 years ago

If they are available online and no display is needed should be a minimal one time cost and possible an annual license fee depending on the program used. The system registers your license plate.

Reply to  Sandpiper
2 years ago

Did you read above it will be online so they do not need to install parking meters.

Bill Thompson
2 years ago

I assume that Veteran licence parking for four hours everywhere will still be free.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
2 years ago

Most towns/cities provide free parking for veterans period no time limit.

2 years ago

With the portion of our residential taxes that goes to the upkeep of the whole beach area, all residents should get a “FREE PASS” for the beach area parking lots. Don’t forget, the town took away the “garbage dump” pass we enjoyed for a number of years.

2 years ago

Every beach community struggles to understand parking. After a major study and re-vamped pricing and policies, Wasaga Beach has seen the number of violations dramatically increase yet the overall revenue from parking operations has declined. I think that is the balancing act you have to manage. The increased revenue projections look quite dramatic, but, if the mix of permits-to-violations changes, it might not be a such good thing.

2 years ago

There will unlikely be some spirited debate on this issue.

Does anyone know why the lawn bowling club was issued free passes?

Reply to  David
2 years ago

Rules, rules and more rules. You will need to bring a lawyer to the beach to figure out if you are breaking any parking by-laws. I am a former Cobourg resident having grown up there. I now live in Whitby where I never have to pay to park even at the waterfront. You are pricing tourism out of the market.

Reply to  Conor
2 years ago

Tourists dont use the beach. I thought you knew that by now🙂

Reply to  Informed
2 years ago

Tourists don’t use the beach? Only locals do? Then why charge for parking?

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Conor
2 years ago

I hear the more accurate term “beachers”used (not tourists) referring to those that use the beach.

Reply to  Conor
2 years ago

To offset the costs of running a free beach at the expense of all the Cobourg taxpayers?

Reply to  Conor
2 years ago

Don’t worry it’s coming to Whitby as well just like it has to Pickering and Ajax.