Dragon boat racers are upset with the city for steadily increasing the cost of parking at Parc Jean-Drapeau over the past two years, they say.

This summer, it costs a minimum of $7 to park on Ile Ste. Helene for the first two hours, plus $3 per hour up to a maximum of $13 a day.

Another option is a parking pass for the summer are also available. This summer they cost $100 for athletes and $150 for other visitors. Last year a summer parking pass for athletes cost $80, they say.

The athletes say two years ago parking was free. The spokesperson for Parc Jean-Drapeau, Nathalie Lessard, said she was unable to confirm the detail because she did not have access to the Parc's archives.

City not budging

The city says that if Montrealers want world-class attractions, they need to accept fees to maintain them.

"When you train for any sport, whether it is for competition or for pleasure, you have to pay the gym and park the car and this is life in Montreal," said Lessard. "We believe it's a pretty reasonable fee."

Festival organizers argue the costs add up. The base fees for participating in dragon boat racing cost between $100 to $300, plus the $20 yearly access fee to the Parc.

For now, the dragon boaters say they carpool and take the metro when they can.