Charge for parking!

 

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Sandy Beach, Saturday, June 16: Why would Hudson not charge non-residents for the privilege of using the beach so that the Town can recoup the cost of securing and maintaining this lakeside jewel?

While Hudson debates whether to charge people for using the Jack Layton Park (JLP) boat launch and how to police and control access to Sandy Beach, here’s food for thought.

Between 2:45 and 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16 we conducted a 15-minute survey of people using the boat launch at JLP.

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This St. Lazare resident and her partner launch and recover their kayaks from a small beach next to the motorboat launch. Why not give non-motorized users separate access to they don’t have to drag their craft across gravel and wait for a pause in the motorized boat-launch traffic?

We began by asking them where they were from. Two respondents — a couple kayaking and the owner of a 23-foot Sea-Doo runabout — were from St. Lazare. The others hailed from Les Cedres, Huntingdon and Lachine.

Asked whether they spent any money in town, all said no.

Asked whether they would pay $50 to use the launching ramp, all said they would go elsewhere.

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Lachine resident reloads his boat after a morning on the lake. If the town jacked the launch fee to $50, he says he would stop coming even though he prefers the Lake of Two Mountains to his home waters. Lachine charges $10 per vehicle and $10 per trailer so that boaters can use the launch ramp for free — and at their own risk.

The Lachine resident has been using the ramp for three years, including the season the town charged for the use of the ramp.

He said he finds the Lake of Two Mountains more interesting for boating and fishing than Lac St-Louis but wouldn’t return if the town charged $50 for use of the ramp. Lachine, he pointed out, doesn’t charge for use of the ramp. Instead, Lachine charges $10 per vehicle and $10 per trailer. Boaters using the ramp do so at their own risk.

 

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Because there is no supervision or control of who parks where, vehicles with trailers monopolize the free parking without regard for how they park. Result: other vehicles are blocked from leaving or finding parking.

Next, we tallied the number of vehicles with and without trailers in the parking lot.

We counted 20 vehicles with trailers and 40 vehicles without trailers.
Let’s say the town charges $10 per vehicle and $10 per trailer.
At $10 per vehicle and $10 per trailer, that amounts to $800 for one afternoon.
Since many won’t spend the whole day on the water, it’s a fair assumption this past Saturday would have pulled in $1600.

Multiply that by 32 weekend days and we come up with $51,000.
Assume rainy weekends will be more than offset by revenues from holiday weekends, when the ramp is in constant use from dawn to dusk.

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Another reason to police parking at Jack Layton Park.

Assume another $42,500 for weekday use. Conservatively, parking for JLP and Sandy Beach could bring in $100,000 a year.

The only expense would be a parking attendant and gate at the park entrance on Halcro.

The benefits of charging for parking rather than for using the boat launch?

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Beachgoers can enjoy a sunny Saturday on Hudson’s waterfront without spending a cent. Shouldn’t they at least pay for parking?

Non-residents enjoying Sandy Beach should be paying for the privilege as well as subsidizing the cost of parking-lot operation and park/beach bylaw enforcement. We biked to the far end of the beach and noted the number of off-leash dogs (the vast majority), coolers of food and alcohol, and overflowing garbage cans the Town pays to empty. How many bought their food and drinks locally before heading to the beach?

Trailer parking
These boaters know the secret to not being boxed in.

Hudson residents pay dearly for all of this, so they should be alone in enjoying free parking by applying for a decal.

Beaches and greenspaces in our region— Pointe du Moulin, Oka Provincial Park, Plage Saint-Zotique, Plage Saint-Timothée, Base de plein air — all charge for vehicle access. Some offer reduced rates or free access to their citizens. Some exchange special access privileges.

To summarize, wouldn’t it be preferable to see Hudson’s lakeside jewel of a greenspace covering the cost of maintaining and securing it for Hudson residents? I can’t understand the mindset of those who say it will end up costing the town more to charge than to give it away.

Don’t believe us. Do the math. Take your own survey. God knows we have the Parks and Recreation staff.

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This lengthy rig managed to occupy four parking spaces, but he’s blocked in by another rig parked in front of him. Good luck getting out.
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8 thoughts on “Charge for parking!

  1. If I understand correctly you feel that parking and boat launching should be free for Hudson résidents and non local pay for both ?

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    1. That would be my preference but may not be that of the council majority. I didn’t get into it, but non-residents also monopolize our dog park and trails. Parking is the common factor. People are already used to paying for parking. Montreal has no problem charging residents for winshield decals and maybe we can consider non-resident seasonal rates as they do at the Base de plein air.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done on the poll and observations ! We are giving everyone a great deal . Time to take our fair share .SINCE WE PAID TO SET IT ALL UP ..

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  3. It is amazing how quickly you can make some sense of a situation, thanks Jim and company for taking the time to do the survey. I am sure that there are some hidden costs that will pop up and strange rules which will make it difficult to put a pay system in place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I applaud all of the above. We should have been charging out-of-town users long ago for their use of parking/boat launch/beach. Hudson citizens should have total free access however, as we are the ones paying the taxes. The Hudson Yacht Club manages “members” vs. “non-members” successfully, the Town of Hudson should be able to also.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s why I’m chewing on the administration and pushing the envelope of what’s being said in public. It takes a council majority — four councillors — to overcome the mayor’s veto.

      Liked by 1 person

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