Google free overnight parking in Niagara-on-the-Lake for RVs, and you might be surprised to find the address for St. Mark’s Anglican Church pop up.
Coun. Gary Burroughs has been questioning why so many RVs are parking overnight on Byron Street, taking up free spaces used by the church and visitors to Simcoe Park.
Even on Tuesday morning, after the long weekend, there was one RV still parked on the street by the church.
It’s not surprising, when 41 Byron Street, the address of St. Mark’s Church, is mentioned on a popular RV site as a good, free parking spot.
It’s behind a park in the historic district of Niagara-on-the-Lake, one comment says, and there are washrooms and picnic tables close by. Another said it’s very quiet after sunset.
They also mentioned moving along the street because they weren’t crazy about parking beside a cemetery.
On Sunday, when Burroughs went to church, there were four RVs parked on Byron Street, all from Quebec.
“Quebec has some strict limits (because of COVID),” says Burroughs.
“Yet here they are in Niagara-on-the-Lake.”
There is also a comment on the same site from RV owners who enjoyed a nice stay on Firelane 1 in NOTL.
Burroughs has asked the Town’s planning department about ticketing, but so far the only answer he’s received is that there is no ban on parking overnight in unpaved, unmarked areas.
Twice Burroughs says he has politely asked RV owners to move down the road a bit, to free up the space in front of the entrance to St. Mark’s Church, which he attends. One was for a wedding this summer, and the other for the first in-church service Thanksgiving Sunday.
Both times, the response has also been polite, and the driver has pulled forward on the street, away from the church, he says.
Most, if not all, of the RVs he has seen, have Quebec licence plates.
With COVID rates even higher in Quebec than Ontario, especially in Montreal, “inter-regional travel” from what Quebec calls its “red zones,” or hot spots of coronavirus, is not recommended, but is not prohibited.
Burroughs has asked for signs on the street banning overnight parking on Byron Street, but he’s been told there is no bylaw to back that up.
“If I was a hotel owner in town, I wouldn’t be happy about free parking for RVs,” he says.