CORRECTION: Ruth Cleland was identified as Ruth Cleveland in the original version of this story. The QEW South Post regrets the error.
BY EMMA SCHATOCHIN
New parking fees in Port Credit impact churchgoers seven days a week – not just Sundays, say parishioners.
“When you have people with walkers, canes, people with really bad mobility, the distance from walking from the GO station to here … it tires them out before they even get here,” said Ruth Cleland, a member of Trinity-St. Paul Port Credit Anglican Church on Stavebank Rd.
The city’s parking changes, north of Lakeshore Rd. between Stavebank Rd. and Hurontario St., took effect Sept. 1.
Sunday, formerly free, now requires payment between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Paid parking hours have been extended from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
In addition, parking rates have increased from $1 to $1.50 for the first two hours and then $2 for the third hour. Events such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Boy Scouts gatherings, and ‘lunch and movies’ for seniors take place at the church during the week and it may now cost those attending, or push them to exertion if they park further away, say members.
“It’s terrible, just terrible,” said Jean Kwint.
“My husband is in charge of the cemetery and he is over here everyday so it’s expensive — let’s put it that way,” said Elizabeth Zimmerman.
Ward 1 Coun. Tovey says he’s “taken a lot of phone calls on this one,” explaining there’s a purpose and strategy behind the changes.
The location of the future garage – costing an estimated $16 million to $20 million, plus land – is unknown, however, it likely won’t be close to the churches along Stavebank Rd.
WALKING UP THE HILL
“You might have just seen that woman, Barbara, walking up the hill. She is 92-years-old. In the winter it’s just not going to happen,” said Angie Dell-Kealey, who says she’s been attending Trinity since 1968.
On the other hand, Cleland says she’s worried making churchgoers walk will have a negative effect on the number of people who attend service.
“When churches are facing small congregations and you have the threat of even smaller ones because of a parking problem, it’s not going to be good,” said Cleland.
One p.m. to 6 p.m. “would be perfect” and Tovey “would have people cheering again,” said Cleveland.
Niles says she’s concerned customers will be more likely to hit up local malls where parking is free and there’s larger store selection.
“As a resident and business owner of Port Credit, I simply cannot justify the Sunday parking,” said Niles.
“We’re supposed to encourage people to come shop and eat in the village, but what we’ve actually done with Sunday parking is deter people from coming.”
But Timms says paid parking “actually manages the turnover of the spot,” adding with the three-hour maximum, no single person can take up a space for the entire day.
My Olive owner Rob Pineau says he understands municipalities have to look for ways to generate more revenue, however, he’s feeling frustrated.
“We have a parking lot in the back here, which now on Sundays — there’s a lot more people in the parking lot but there’s still not a lot of people in the stores,” Pineau said.
“So our parking lot is filled with a lot of other shoppers. It’s just not fair.”