Few Visitors find Cobourg’s West Beach

Saturday was hot and a great beach day but with Victoria Park Beach closed, where can beach people go?  On the July 1st holiday, many went to Port Hope; others went to Wicklow beach.  Reports from those beaches say that few followed social distancing rules so now Port Hope’s beaches are closed on weekends.  Given these reports, at about 3:00 pm on Saturday I checked out Cobourg’s West Beach.  It was not crowded and those that were there, were following the rules – see the Video below.  I didn’t ask people where they were from but I recognized one local couple.  There were no Police or ByLaw officers – but what ByLaws would they be enforcing?  There were dogs – but not running wild – no barbecues, no tents and no obvious alcohol.  As long as people continue to behave like this, it seems OK.  But there were beach goers in the West Harbour – ignoring the unsafe for swimming sign and seemingly oblivious of the better beach a short distance away.  That could be worth a visit from enforcers.

West Beach
West Beach

Since it’s a natural and (I would call it) an unofficial Beach, there are no lifeguards or notices about swimming at your own risk.  Provision for parking is limited and there is no sign-posting to this beach.  Tourism publicity does not mention it (except briefly on the main Town web site) – you could say it’s a hidden gem.  Google Maps does not mention it although it’s pretty obvious on Google Earth.  Some people found it and I’d guess that although a few were local, most were not.

Let’s hope it stays uncrowded and that users continue to follow the rules.

 

Video

Not a masterpiece –  but it tells the story well enough!

Meanwhile, at Victoria Park Beach, also on Saturday, Police charged 32-year-old Tamara Ugolini of Cobourg with “Enter Premise when Entry Prohibited contrary to Section 2(1)(a)(i) of the Trespass to Property Act” for walking “in the area clearly posted as closed with visible signage indicating entry prohibited”. She was also charged with obstructing Peace Officer Contrary to Section 129(a) of the Criminal Code because she “was uncooperative with Police refusing to identify herself”.

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Kevin
8 July 2020 6:08 am

In the comments below there is information about the boardwalk and Waterfront Trail. On a map for the Waterfront Trail the Cobourg beach is identified as temporarily closed. There is nothing about the west beach at all. Once the Waterfront Trail crosses Victoria Park is goes to the end of Bay St., down to Lakeshore and up Coverdale. I think it would be better to cross Donagan Park and take Coronation and Orchard to reach Coverdale. There would be more off road trail to be used all year by locals.

JimT
7 July 2020 11:27 am

By the way: who do we have to thank for that wonderful boardwalk all along the west beach? It has made a huge difference to the area and gets a lot of use from locals and visitors of all ages.
I was away for 40 years, so missed out on developments such as this. So what’s the story there? Anyone?

MiriamM
Reply to  JimT
7 July 2020 12:40 pm

It is my recollection that former Cobourg Mayor Peter Delanty, an avid cyclist, was a leading champion for the creation of this boardwalk. Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie chaired the Waterfront Regeneration Trust at the time and funding was made available to municipalities to help create the Waterfront Trail across southern Ontario, including Cobourg.

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  JimT
7 July 2020 3:57 pm

https://www.northumberlandnews.com/news-story/3759259-cobourg-boardwalk-to-be-extended-westward/

tldr: Town of Cobourg paid 150k funded out of Parks Reserve fund

Fact Checker
Reply to  Mrs. Anonymous
7 July 2020 8:10 pm

$150K funded out of the Parks Reserve fund….. And where did the money come from originally? You guessed it; Cobourg taxpayers

MiriamM
Reply to  Fact Checker
7 July 2020 9:44 pm

I suppose it can all be traced back to the taxpayer at some point. Do not forget about the parkland development reserve fund created through development charges, land or cash in lieu provided through new development. In this case, buying the land was integral to improving the boardwalk for everyone. A good and lasting legacy project for all citizens of Cobourg. At least one other section of the boardwalk was made possible through a parkland dedication resulting from adjacent new development. To clarify my earlier comment in reply to JimT, the Waterfront Trail initiative was integral to making the boardwalk a reality but it did not get built as you find it today, all at one time.

Bryan
Reply to  MiriamM
8 July 2020 10:41 am

MiriamM,
Paying for the Boardwalk or buying the land under it seems to be a good use of Development Charges. There are several “Parks” development charge reserves including: 1.Parkland Development and 2.Recreation
The Recreation reserve had a deficit of $1,792,672 at Jan 2018 (FIR tab 61), mostly from being charged for the CCC’s annual mortgage payment of $276K per year. This is a “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” strategy and simply shifts the liability from one account to another.
The Parkland Development reserve had a Jan 2018 balance of $453,967. In 2018, the CCC mortgage payment of $276K was allocated to this reserve instead of the Parkland Development reserve as had been done in prior years. If this continues, the PD reserve will soon also be in deficit.
The 2019 data is not yet available as the 2019 FIR has not been filed with the Province

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Paul
6 July 2020 1:03 pm

We have seen the Bylaw officers, Special Constables and Auxiliary patrolling the West Beach and boardwalk – on the weekend 3 were patrolling on the Segway’s between the boardwalk and the beach.

Rob
6 July 2020 9:55 am

I get the feeling that some contributors are forgetting that we are allow to have a “social circle” of not more than 10 people and within your circle you are not required to socially distance. So if you see people who are not socially distancing themselves from others, it may be that they are within one another’s permissible social circle.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Bill Thompson
Reply to  Rob
6 July 2020 11:14 am

and if not ?

Rob
Reply to  Bill Thompson
6 July 2020 11:44 am

Bill – it is a personal responsibility and a guideline from the Province of Ontario. If you are that curious/concerned, you could go to the beach and simply ask (while remaining 6 feet away) … I’m sure it will illicit some colourful responses.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Bill Thompson
Reply to  Rob
6 July 2020 9:40 pm

I thought that’s the role of the bylaw police officers etc.not private residents or am I mistaken.?

Rob
Reply to  Bill Thompson
7 July 2020 8:10 am

My point exactly Bill….a wee bit tongue in cheek.

Dubious
Reply to  Rob
6 July 2020 11:30 am

And how do we ensure that the “social circle” of 10 doesn’t have members with their own circles of 10? Together that means a circle of 19. Or perhaps even a circle of 99. Remember those funny Venn diagrams from your school days!

Rob
Reply to  Dubious
6 July 2020 11:50 am

Dubious to answer your question regarding “how do we ensure…”, I would suggest that it isn’t our responsibility to ensure that happens unless you have been “deputized”. Frankly I’m just glad we are permitted to have a social circle these days…..

Fact Checker
Reply to  Dubious
6 July 2020 3:40 pm

Venn diagrams…..really Dubious!. Your point is well taken but I fear that few will understand the the Venn diagram reference.

Dubious
Reply to  Fact Checker
6 July 2020 10:49 pm

Venn diagrams are part of Ontario’s grade 6 math curriculum. See http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/curriculum/elementary/math18curr.pdf

Last edited 1 month ago by Dubious
New Cobourg
6 July 2020 9:28 am

I knew eventually the West beach would become a topic of conversation. I agree with John, in that currently people are mindful of social distancing on this beach, which is great to see. Our local little ones have a nice little beach place to enjoy themselves. So, good for them :).
The bylaw officers and police do need to have presence there, particularly on weekend afternoons, to ensure social distancing is respected and no tents up. They should also be enforcing littering infractions on this natural site.

ElisabethL
6 July 2020 8:34 am

What’s being done about Porta-Potties on the West Beach and Wicklow – not to mention Nuawatin which is getting many visitors to their tiny beach? Either close and monitor or keep open and provide “facilities”.

Frenchy
Reply to  ElisabethL
6 July 2020 10:47 am

Nuawatin?

Yvonne Michalski
Reply to  Frenchy
6 July 2020 11:10 am

OK, I give up, what’s a Nuawatin?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Yvonne Michalski
6 July 2020 12:03 pm

https://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/index.php?url=trails/view/nawautin-nature-sanctuary-and-wetland-trail. It’s in our neighbourhood. Let me take this moment to recommend Google.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 July 2020 12:44 pm

Try Googling Nuawatin and see what you get. I got nothing.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
6 July 2020 1:07 pm

That’s what I got also. But I have imagination to think that there was a misspelling, so I altered it and voila.

JimT
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 July 2020 11:36 am

It’s Nawautin.

For the record.

Yvonne Michalski
Reply to  Wally Keeler
6 July 2020 5:18 pm

Thanks, Wally, Google does not appear to know about this gem. Will definitely check out with the grandkids.

Ken
Reply to  Yvonne Michalski
7 July 2020 9:33 am

Just watch out for the snakes!

Sam
Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 July 2020 6:08 pm

Wrongly spelt????

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Sam
9 July 2020 11:48 pm

Let’s keep the spelling wrong this is an environmentally sensitive area that can not withstand crowds. Btw the red ant colonies there are terrible.

Fact Checker
Reply to  ElisabethL
6 July 2020 11:46 am

Porta-potties at the West Beach…perhaps. But why now all of a sudden?
Why should the Town provide “facilities”? If they are provided at West Beach, should they also be provided at the other smaller Town beaches? all parks? perhaps every third street corner? Are these facilities for local benefit or for “tourists”
.
As for Wicklow and Nuawatin, these are not in Cobourg’s jurisdiction. What is the relevance?

cornbread
6 July 2020 8:31 am

John, don’t let out the secret of our west beach or hundreds of out-of-towners will decend and ruin it. I saw a party of about 7 or 8 show up at the West parking lot yesterday with a 20 ft trailer, park it and proceed to have a nice time into the late hours of the day. Are camper trailers allowed in this parking lot??

GailR
5 July 2020 5:04 pm

The only problem for people going on to the West Beach is that much of it is privately owned into the water, although there is a section owned by the Town as it was bought a few years ago. And in the past some of the property owners have been quite insistent in keeping people off their property. Hopefully if the beach remains as little used as it was today owners will be tolerant of occasional visitors on a hot summer day.

Abby
Reply to  GailR
6 July 2020 11:04 am

Private property well into the water…how on earth was that ever allowed to happen?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Abby
6 July 2020 11:34 am

Abby, that is the case for most (all?) of the waterfront properties in Cobourg. It results from the original land grants by the Crown.

Gerinator
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 July 2020 12:26 pm

Ken

Is it “Private property well into the water…”? or is it –
Private property to the water line?

MiriamM
Reply to  Gerinator
6 July 2020 1:03 pm

There are a number of properties in Cobourg that extend out under the lake water surface, some by a few hundred feet. It would be interesting to see a compilation map across the Cobourg waterfront between town limits east and west. These lots can exist right beside another lot with a lot line to about the high water mark. I recall being perplexed, wondering if I was looking at the right survey plan, standing in a friend’s back yard and the yard being only a short width to the waters edge but the survey showing a very long lot south, under the lake water. And, I believe that the state of Michigan or some jurisdictions in Michigan went back to the British North America Act to clarify rights along the shoreline of that Great Lake, Michigan, re: land grants and public access.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  MiriamM
6 July 2020 2:39 pm

My understanding is that ALL of the area into the lake but near to the shore (100 yards sounds familiar) belongs to someone other than the public. In many cases these “water lots” are separately deeded and have been bought/sold through the years. A search of the land records (some are held at the archives in the library) would probably produce the documentation. We are talking about the ground under the lake; the water is public.

I have sent an information request to the archivist.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
MiriamM
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 July 2020 3:02 pm

Yes, the ground under the lake water. Because of my work in design and construction, I became aware of some of the various scenarios as I described. It could be that ‘someone’ else owns the lot under the water but I have not seen confirmation of this. And, this all assumes the colonizing peoples from across the big pond have ultimate rights here!

Merry Mary
Reply to  MiriamM
7 July 2020 4:12 am

It is difficult to define the ownership and the ground under the Lake water for this Act when obviously the Lake, since then, has receded…