One thing that attracted us to Babel was the beautiful bay and the waterfront parks. Summer and winter, there are always people enjoying the water or ice of the bay and providing a scenic balance with nature. We certainly love to see the many visitors who come to enjoy this wonderful scenery. Regrettably, City Council only sees them as another revenue source.
The city’s plan is to charge our visitors (but not city residents) $3 an hour, up to $15 a day, to park a vehicle while they enjoy our parks and waterfront. With that charge for parking at the waterfront, visitors will soon find cheaper places to park—on our street next to the waterfront or in our condo’s visitor parking. We used to have the problem when there were special weekend events in the summer that forced latecomers to park further from the lakeshore. Now it will be all the time.
Maybe we should have complained when we saw the plans for the additional waterfront park area. There will be less parking than is now available. And what is this parking money supposed to pay for? Are there to be more facilities in the park for the visitors? Or is the money going to paying for a parking building in the business district, three blocks from the waterfront?
People complain because they believe these out-of-town visitors to our waterfront bring their own picnic and do not spend money in Babel. Do we make much available to them? Do we have beachfront shopping to attract their loonies? Do we have the food vendors enticing them with the smells of sizzling hot dogs and other foods? Are we merchandising our beautiful waterfront properly?
Our unimaginative city councillors will not be able to collect their tithes from the out of town visitors as soon as they would like. They put off finishing the new Lakeshore road for another year. And then it will take two years to finish the job. Those of us who have put up with years of pile-driving and dusty construction will have to wait another three years to really enjoy the peace and beauty of our lakeshore.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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