$400 parking fine crippling business, says Prince Edward County restaurant

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, ONT. — A popular restaurant in Prince Edward County says they are fighting to stay open, after a $400 bylaw parking fine was instituted on the road just outside their establishment.

The business owners say the hefty ticket is turning away customers.

In February, Prince Edward County Council unanimously voted to implement a parking ban on County Road 7. Anyone caught between May and October now faces the fine.

The no-parking rules and $400 fine were implemented because the county’s provincial parks, including Lake on the Mountain Provincial Park, which sits in the area, proved to be a popular destination last summer under COVID-19 restrictions.

Danielle Chretien is one of the owners of Lake on the Mountain Resort. The family run business owns two restaurants on either side of the road, and sits directly beside the provincial park.

“It’s not good. People that you’ve had coming for years, all of a sudden, they don’t want to come any more,” Chretien says.

She says they rely on the street parking for customers. 

“It leaves a bad taste in their mouth, we’ve had many say they wouldn’t come back to Prince Edward County ever again based on that, the fines.”

Chretien says her business was never consulted on the new parking rules, and the small parking lots on either side, one further down the road, are not big enough.

If the fines continue, she says they may be forced to shut their doors.

“There are things that they could do that aren’t so punitive to our business, our customers and hospitality and tourism sector,” she says. “If this continues, I mean, it’s just not viable the way it is.”

This week, County Council voted to begin a traffic and safety study of the road. Mayor Steve Ferguson declined an on-camera interview with CTV News Ottawa. In a statement, Ferguson said the parking ban was always about improving safety in the region.

“We have heard a great deal of feedback from residents, visitors and businesses about the parking restrictions,” read the statement. “And are looking for longer-term options that balance road safety with public concerns about access and parking in this area.”

David Sutherland lives nearby, he calls the ban necessary because the foot traffic to and from the nearby provincial park was dangerous.

“They park here, they go see the view so they go across, so there’s a lot of cross traffic. There tends to be a lot of people just moving in the area,” he explains.

Other neighbours say the parking ban has just moved the problem further down the road.

“It’s caused traffic going back and forth,” said neighbour Paul Bryan. “People walking on both sides of the road. People walking on both sides of the street. And so that has now become a bigger safety issue.”

Chretien is hoping to speak to the council, to meet in the middle, before it is too late.

“I’m still really, really fighting to have things changed. If they can change it, we won’t have to close,” she says.

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