From the inception of paid parking at Port Stanley's main beach area, the Municipality
of Central Elgin has been sending out conflicting messages, and the problem of conflicting
messages continues as to when pay parking ends for the 2013 season.
All summer the signs on the pay meter boxes have said pay parking was in effect
from May 15th to October 15th. However, the large signs to make sure people were
aware these were now pay parking lots have read that the pay parking was in effect
from the Saturday of the Victoria Day weekend (May 18th) to Labour Day, September
On September 4th, 2013 I phoned the municipal office as an ordinary citizen, not
identifying myself as Port Stanley News.com to ask whether or not the pay parking
was still in effect, and the clerk I talked to assured me the pay parking was over
for the season, the by-law enforcement officers were done for the season, and the
machines would be coming out that week. The clerk had no reason to lie to me, so
I believed her and we ran the story according to that information received.
On September 10th, after I'd received more phone calls from local business persons
and residents that people were still putting money in the pay parking meter boxes,
I emailed the municipal staffer responsible for Parks, Tim McKenna, about the parking
machines still being in place and still accepting money. I copied Lloyd Perrin,
Don Leitch, and every member of Council on this email. I received zero response
from any of them.
Today, September 13, 2013, Linda Hibbert has an article on the back page of the
Lake Erie Beacon stating that on September 10th (the same date as my email to Tim,
Don Leitch, Lloyd Perrin and Council on the subject) Don Leitch told her that the
pay parking would continue until Thanksgiving and that all of the signage has now
been changed to reflect that.
So I emailed Tim, Don and all the boys asking for confirmation as to which date
for the end of pay parking was correct. The email response I got from Leitch was
"The pilot year agreement with Precise Parklink requires the pay and display machines
to remain in place and operational until October 15th." This is true, but
it leaves one wondering why the big signs all summer said it was to end on Labour
So now I'm left wondering if the clerk deliberately lied to me, even though she
did not know who was calling; if the municipality simply screwed up the order for
the big signs that said all summer pay parking was to end on Labour Day; or if the
'boys' decided to extend the pay parking after I ran our front page story
that pay parking was over for the season?