With tourism in the Grey-Bruce region continuing to hit new peaks, it seems almost natural (though not very acceptable) that some of that tourism stream hits us in somewhat negative ways.
We’re all well aware of the ways in which 10th Street traffic hits a snail’s pace in the summer.
Many of us aren’t strangers to driving north of Ferndale towards Tobermory, and encountering drivers creeping behind you at high speed.
They’re attempting to blaze along at 120/KM and constantly making partial swerves into the opposite lane to check for an over-take opportunity.
But more and more, we’re seeing urban visitors to the region cheaping out on their travel expenses and camping out in parking lots.
The Problem With Parking Lot Camping In Owen Sound
On the surface, what’s really the harm in allowing tourists to park their RVs in large, empty parking lots during their visits to the region?
On the surface – nothing, really.
However, once you take a closer look, you can’t help but feel that locals are getting a raw deal.
First, let’s look at the financial aspect of the situation.
The RVs you see in the picture accompanying this article average out to over $100K.
These campers cost their owners over six figures – so why can’t they spread for properties that charge fees that would benefit the local economy?
Just look at the 10th Street bridge replacement that we’re facing. The bridge serves as a vital artery for locals and tourists alike.
It needs to be replaced and the anticipated cost has recently jumped to $9.3 million.
Visitor traffic has no doubt taken its share of the toll on the local infrastructure, so why aren’t we more to make sure their share of the costs are claimed?
We could even talk about other issues facing Owen Sound that require tax dollars to fix or solve.
For instance, take our growing crystal meth problem.
Rehab is a process that takes time and effort and it sure isn’t free.
So that’s the financial question to be asking ourselves regarding this issue.
Let’s look at the behavioral aspect.
Locals have cited spotting some of these parking lot campers dumping their garbage bags into the dumpsters of the surrounding businesses.
So not only are they already getting a free stay, they’re also disposing of their trash at the expense of local businesses?
If you take a closer look at the photo in this article, you’ll also see a couple packing up after having coffee in the parking lot.
Would it really hurt these visitors to enjoy their morning coffee at a local cafe?
Should Owen Sound (and Grey-Bruce as a whole) expect more from its visitors?
Looking for a list of great events to enjoy while in the region? Check out our events guide here.