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).
The regular Town budget for parks administration and operations was anticipated to be just over $2.2 million in 2020. It would be helpful to understand the numbers in the staff report for Council to consider on June 29 in context of what would normally have been spent on the Cobourg beaches including promotions and events support, clean-up, waste disposal, security, grounds maintenance, staffing etc. I do not know what the adjusted numbers for parks were in the May review of the budget by Council.
Re-opening the beach estimated cost: . $219,00-$377,000… Expect taxes to go wayyy up.
Keeping the beach closed and saving that money would have helped offset the reduction of projected revenue streams from ccc…Town events such as Waterfront and Ribfest.
The staff at Cobourg have presented a report to the councillors. The staff report with some suggestions indicated the cost is of up to $377,000 to re-open the beach. Tax payers do not need this cost. Opening will not provide any benefit at this point during a pandemic. Review the situation to reopen mid July and open fully with health guidelines at the end of August. If safe to do so.
Watch for a new post on this report on this site.
Are the 17 -> 21 cases in Northumberland County related to June 12’s opening up of Stage 2 in Ontario?
Source: News Update June 26 (right hand column of this Blog)
If anyone doubts the risks posed by opening our beach, Florida reported 8,942 new cases TODAY after they opened things.
Is it even legal to restrict access to a public beach to local residents only? Anyone have any evidence of this being done anywhere else in Ontario? I’ve got an inquiry into our town clerk Brent Larmer but he’s a very busy guy and could be a while before he gets a chance to respond.
I think some beaches (Innisfil and Wasaga) are limited their parking to residents only to discourage day trippers visiting the beach.
Cobourg’s beach is town property. Innisfil’s parking lots are town property. What is the difference between limiting access to a parking lot and limiting access to a beach?
I might be mistaken, but but I don’t think Innisfil’s parking lots are restricted to local residents only, but that the town charges for non-residents and free for locals. Everyone is still allowed on the beach and in the parking lots.
That does not appear to be correct. See near the top of https://innisfil.ca/covid19/
You appear to be correct, beach area parking lots are for residents only. It looks like their beach is open to all but beach area parking isn’t. I couldn’t find any mention of their beach being for residents only.
So why aren’t we doing this? We are not the problem. Is it too complicated to be worth it?
I do not know what the best answer is but here is something to consider. If the beach is to open for Cobourg residents then what happens to people that own property in Cobourg but do not live here? Some homeowners are landlords and live in places like the GTA. The tenants pay rent which the landlord uses to pay property taxes. The tenants live in Cobourg but the landlord pays the taxes. Can we say no to the landlord? (I have read many but not all of the comments so maybe this point has already been made)
I believe that you are over thinking this! Most have suggested that we restrict access to Cobourg residents rather than to Cobourg property owners. If you require a driver’s licence as proof of address the problem is solved. I suspect that only a few dozen landlords are in the situation that you described so regardless of their treatment we wouldn’t have the thousands from the GTA who will come if we don’t restrict things to Cobourg residents.
I extend my sympathies to the Summer Students who might be hired to staff the access gates of Victoria Beach. Irrational suggestion.
Just a point of clarification re Emily Chowley’s proposal to open beach on a sort of book ahead basis. Gail Rayment also pointed out that the danger was many non residents would simply arrive expecting the beach to be open without booking ahead.
Re my question about risk assessment: It appears that Councillors were not provided with that information before they voted at their June 22 meeting.
This afternoon while sitting outside , a friend and I had to tell some people with their beach gear that the beach was closed,.
They they were very surprised but thanked us for letting them know,
Is this the first time comments has ever gone to 2 pages?
Hey Councillors, take note, pretty hot topic here and which way do you think public opinion is swaying? You’ve already done the flip and the flop… not too many are going to be upset with you if you go back to flip. You can try flop again in another month.
I would buy a pair. Would be a good fundraiser👍
I understand the disappointment, even anger, on the part of people who are missing the beach, and that includes people with young kids, many who were planning on going away to camp, only to have it cancelled.
However, in my opinion, the Cobourg beach should be closed to everyone through the month of July. Let the other beaches, that are rushing to open, test the waters for the next few weeks. I predict there will be serious regret for opening too soon.
In the meantime, the town can begin laying the groundwork for an official opening on August 1st – FOR COBOURG RESIDENTS ONLY – with a flexible plan that can be cancelled in a worst case scenario, or implemented, with appropriate restrictions.
The great experiment of opening up parks and beaches, etc., in Toronto and certainly in the U.S. has failed, and it’s going to get worse. We don’t need to be part of that experiment.
Great to see it opening and the sooner the better. Would it be possible to open without booking slots for early morning hours (before 11am) as those times would only appeal to locals? For the first week or so polite reminders for those entering the beach and stricter warnings for violating social distancing rules re threat of re closing might be in order and perhaps some enterprising soul could sell masks ?
In other words, if you are a tourist visiting Cobourg, or you live outside of Cobourg, just arrive at the beach any time before 11 am where you can enter without a booking slot, and stay as long as you want to. You can stay all day, if you want to. Everyone will automatically assume you’re a local. At the most you will receive a polite reminder when you enter. You don’t even have to wear a mask but maybe some enterprising soul will be there to sell you one. There’s a reason your post is getting so many thumbs-down. Do you and Sherel Purcell, the travel writer, share the same name?