BARRIE, ONT. -- Out-of-town visitors flocking to Barrie’s beaches may soon have to pay triple what residents pay to park at the waterfront.

On Monday evening, Barrie city councillors voted in favour of the price increase.

“I am getting a lot of residents communicating with me that they believe that out-of-towners are coming in to our beaches and they’re not spending any money. They’re actually costing the city money because they’re leaving their garbage,” argued Councillor Mike McCann.

Hourly parking would jump from $3 an hour to $10 an hour for people from out of town and from $20 a day to $50 a day for non-residents.

“I believe the value, per hour, for an out-of-towner to use our stunning waterfront is worth more than $10 an hour,” added McCann.

Not all councillors were in favour of the change.

“My concern is that we’re actually going to drive tourism away, drive people away if we charge $10 an hour. And instead of getting more revenue from the waterfront, we’ll actually get less,” argued Councillor Barry Ward.

Councillor Rob Thomson pointed out that higher parking fees could encourage visitors to park closer to downtown, driving foot traffic to local businesses.

“Where right now we’re getting the exit from Essa Road, they come with their barbecues, they have no money. They leave their garbage, not their wallets,” he said.

The fee increase is similar to what nearby Innisfil charges.

The town of Innisfil charges $10 an hour, and $50 a day for waterfront parking.

While waterfront parking fees would go up, parking downtown would remain free, as part of the city’s pandemic economic recovery.

Councillors will be casting their final vote on the parking fees on Monday, June 29, at the final council meeting before they break for summer.