Civic Holiday 2014 was the kind of hot and humid day that attracts visitors to Port
Stanley in droves for a cooling dip in the lake. Main Beach and the parking lots
around Main Beach were packed almost to capacity, and at each parking lot long lines
formed while people waited to pay for parking.
The crowds of tourists were at levels this reporter hasn't seen here since that
fabled May 24, 2010 holiday Monday when traffic jammed up at Edith Cavell and William
Streets and tourists were stuck in their cars for hours. Port Stanley did not have
Pay Parking in those days; it was only implemented last year. Last year each lot
had multiple machines were people could pay to get their parking ticket and I don't
remember ever seeing more than a couple of people in line to pay after the first
week the machines were running.
This year; however, there seems to be only one machine in each of the pay parking
lots and there are frequently line ups at each of them whenever it gets busy. There
were line ups to pay for parking on August 3rd, and even longer line ups to pay
for parking on August 4th. This was particularly noticeable at the Prespa lot and
the municipal grassy lot on Edith Cavell.
But the "Beach Parking" signs directing people to the pay parking lot at the south
end of Carlow Road didn't seem to be able to generate many takers. That lot was
almost empty, although the free parking along the road shoulder right beside that
lot was filled to capacity. It also has only one machine at which to pay for parking,
but there were no line ups of people waiting to pay for parking at this lot. Of
course, with all the cars parked along the road shoulder, it was hard to see where
the actual entrance to that parking lot was located, and there is no noticeable
signage directing people to the beach from that parking lot.
At Port Stanley News.com we have not yet received any letters from visitors about
having to wait to pay for their parking, but we'll post them if we get any.