Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says Ontario’s Premier might not be aware of the overcrowding in the city and across the County.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford was asked whether he felt Barrie’s move to increase per-hour parking rates to $10 was an example of price gouging. The premier emphatically agreed and called it disgusting. “When you’re charging three dollars, and all of a sudden it jumps up to fifty, that’s absolute price gouging,” Ford said Friday afternoon.
Mayor Jeff Lehman pointed out the city is not as interested in turning a quick buck as the Premier might think. “We’re not trying to make a profit, this is not about gouging people or anything like that,” Mayor Lehman told Barrie 360 Friday afternoon. “We’re trying to recoup some of the additional costs that have resulted from the crowding, perhaps, but the primary purpose here, as it has been, is to try and deal with the crowding at the beaches, and that is a concern.”
Lehman points out the issue of overcrowding might be something of which Premier Ford was previously unaware. “It’s less about whether they’re open or not, but the very practical fact that the beaches can’t take the volume,” added Lehman. “We’ve been talking about this now for over a month, so it’s too bad the premier didn’t hear about that before he made his comment.”
“The pressure on all Simcoe County municipalities has been obvious during the phase three opening, so perhaps the premier was unaware,” said Lehman. “The reality is here, we have very limited tools to deal with these issues.”
Mayor Lehman has extended an invitation to Premier Ford to experience Barrie’s crowded beaches for himself.