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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Town to share 25 per cent of parking lot charges with Parks Canada

Niagara-on-the-Lake asked Parks Canada to reduce its parking lot charges but the federal agency refused.

Over the past 18 years, tour buses have been using parking lots at Fort George, owned by Parks Canada, for free.

Under a new contract with Parks Canada, NOTL will now have to pay the government agency 25 per cent of the annual gross revenue the town receives from bus operators. Buses drop visitors off at the fort and then they are shuttled to downtown.

Initially, Parks Canada was looking for 50 per cent of the fees, but the town staff managed to negotiate that down.

At the committee of the whole meeting on March 4, Lord Mayor Betty Disero asked town staff to try to get an even better deal — 10 to 15 per cent of gross revenues.

Disero also noted it was “too coincidental” that shortly after the town raised the bus parking fees at the Fort George lot to $50 from $25, Parks Canada decided it wanted a share of those fees.

Town staff and Disero met with Parks Canada to discuss the sharing arrangement, but the agency wouldn’t budge.

“I’m not thrilled, but it is what it is,” Disero said at the Monday’s council meeting. “All we could do is ask. We asked and we have a response today.”

Coun. Clare Cameron said Parks Canada stated the negotiation had nothing to do with the town’s increase in bus parking fees.

The estimated gross revenue for a one-year contract with Parks Canada, starting April 1, is $272,000. The estimated cost to operate the lot at the fort is $250,000 a year.

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