At tonight’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting, councillors had a long debate about re-opening the beach. Councillor Emily Chorley proposed that the beach be re-opened on a limited basis with advance reservations required for time slots. She initially wanted weekdays only but others wanted seven days a week. The idea is that numbers would be limited although the exact number has not yet been specified. There would likely be only one public entrance that would be available (and it would be accessible) although there would be other emergency only entrances. In discussion it became apparent that there are staffing and logistical issues that need to be sorted out so Staff were asked to report back on June 29 with details. The re-opening would start on July 6 on a trial basis.
A separate discussion on establishing a By-Law to help enforce social distancing as originally suggested on April 27 was deferred to October 5 if needed (see Link below).
The motion to re-open was long, but in summary:
- Beach occupancy will be limited. The number will be based on social distancing requirements and decided in consultation with the Town’s emergency planner and the HKPR District Health Unit and will be provided in the June 29 staff report.
- Beach passes will be available for advance reservation online or by phone and will be free on a first come first served basis. There was no discussion on limiting access to residents only.
- The beach will be open 7 days a week; opening times will be determined by Staff but preference seemed to be around 11 am to 8 pm. Staff will recommend times and Council will decide.
- Lifeguards will be hired as required. The YMCA believes this is possible with 2 weeks notice. (It is planned to open Centennial pool on July 6).
- Access gates will be staffed by yet to be hired summer students or a security company.
- Public access outside Council-approved hours will be strictly prohibited.
- Beach pass applicants must answer health screening questions and agree to social distancing.
- The accessible beach mat will be installed at one entry gate (which may be the only gate – yet to be decided).
- The implementation of the trial period would be reviewed by Council at their Committee of the Whole Council meeting on 24 August.
There was some discussion as to whether the port-a-potties should be inside the fence or outside. This will be recommended in the staff report along with other details.
The booking system to be used will probably be the one used by the Concert Hall although it will need to be modified to stop it charging a fee. The Marina/campground system seems to be not modifiable.
Adam Bureau wanted people to able to walk the beach in off-hours (early morning and in the evening) but this may be impossible to manage. The staff report will address this possibility.
This motion will need to be confirmed at the June 29 regular Council meeting but the staff report will add details. A governing by-Law will also be required.
Article re By-Law enforcing Social Distancing – 3 June 2020 (Originally proposed April 27, tabled, then resurrected June 1st, then deferred to June 22).