Five weeks into Orillia’s waterfront program, the City has noticed park and beach numbers remain under control, so Thursday and Friday will no longer be included. Saturday and Sundays, as well as Labour Day Monday, restrictions still apply from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Non-residents must continue to pay $50 each to park and launch their boats. Parking permits are still required for residents on weekends. As of August 17, the City had issued 8,482 resident parking permits.
“The short-term parking and boat launch program has been an effective tool in curbing what was a dangerous overcrowding issue at our popular waterfront parks and beaches. Now that we are five weeks into the temporary program, we feel comfortable lifting the restrictions from Thursday and Friday due to recent observations of the parks being less busy on those days. It’s important to keep Saturday and Sunday restrictions in effect to limit crowding on these popular days so that we don’t undo the extremely hard work put in place to keep our community safe. As we’ve done throughout the entire pandemic, the City continues to adapt its response and measures based on current circumstances,” said Mayor Steve Clarke.
Side streets signed as “no parking except by resident parking permit” will remain unchanged for the duration of the program but will not be enforced on Thursday and Friday. The City says signage will updated where possible.
The parking restrictions do not apply in downtown Orillia where parking remains free until September 8, with on-street parking reserved for 30-minute curbside pick-up and municipal lots (with the exception of lots 8 and 12 near the Couchiching Beach waterfront) for two hours to promote loner stays.
The short-term waterfront parking program only applies to the City of Orillia waterfront parking areas. Parking in Downtown Orillia remains free until Sept. 8, with on-street parking reserved for 30-minute curbside pick-up and municipal lots (with the exception of lots 8 and 12 near the Couchiching Beach waterfront) for two hours to promote longer stays.
Parking ambassadors will continue to work on Saturdays and Sundays at both Couchiching Beach Park (Orillia Waterfront Centre) and boat launch and J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park (Kids for Turtles Building) and Collins Drive boat launch to print resident parking permits and process visitor payments until Sept. 7. Visitor parking for Couchiching Beach Park, Centennial Park and Veterans’ Park remains limited to Municipal Lots 8 and 12 (see attached map) on Saturday and Sunday and can be purchased through the pay-and-display machine or by using the City’s Passport Parking app. Visitor parking at J.B. Tudhope Memorial Park is limited to the Udell baseball diamond lot.
“Make no mistake, we love our neighbours and visitors and fully understand the value they bring to the City of Orillia. Not being able to accommodate township residents in the City’s short-term parking program was extremely difficult. I can assure you, this measure was strictly a COVID health and safety strategy. We had to turn this program around in a very short order. The City did not have technical infrastructure or resources necessary to accommodate the additional township population and there was no ability for the townships to implement a reciprocal parking program on such short notice. Council has asked staff to explore a potential future waterfront parking strategy that will be inclusive of our immediate neighbours,” added Mayor Clarke.
With the recent change to the program, parking and boat launches are now free Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Terry Fox Circle will be open to traffic from Monday to Friday, but closed Saturday and Sunday (and Labour Day Monday). The last day of the short-term waterfront parking and boat launch program is Sept. 7, 2020 (originally the program was scheduled to continue until Sept. 13, 2020).