On June 22, Council asked staff for a report on how exactly the beach should be re-opened per their motion and they wanted it for their meeting on June 29. Community Services Director Dean Hustwick has now delivered that – see link below. The memo provides specifics on what would be done and how much it would cost. As Dean has said to me in the past, Council makes decisions and staff implement them. The “plan” does not have any real surprises and covers issues in the motion providing Council’s most recent direction. More details are below but the short synopsis is that the beach would be limited to 1500 people, it would be first-come, first-served from Monday to Thursday with reservations required for weekends. The cost to manage this is estimated to be as much as $377k.
- The fence would remain in place with one opening at the main pergola near the canteen building. There would be exits at the east and west ends of the beach plus several emergency access points.
- The Canteen would be closed.
- Monday to Thursday: People will be allowed to enter the access gate until the maximum number is reached. As people leave, additional individuals will be allowed to enter from the stand-by line, which will be monitored to ensure physical distancing.
- Weekends: The Concert Hall’s ticketing system, Arts Manager, will be used (with some modifications) for reservation. This system requires patrons to input some basic personal information (which could help with contact tracing if required) and allows them either to print their own tickets or to receive electronic tickets. Patrons would then need to produce either paper or electronic tickets at the entrance to the beach where staff would use hand-held devices to read the bar codes to ensure only patrons with valid tickets are allowed access.
To accommodate people who did not make reservations and those simply wanting to walk through, and to reduce potential conflict at the entrance gate, it is proposed that a stand-by line be facilitated. A percentage of the daily tickets (e.g., 10 – 20%) can be held back from reservations for same-day stand-by patrons.
- Telephone reservations
In addition to the two staff handling the Town’s new COVID-19 hotline and the Division’s various telephone lines, an additional summer student and/or an additional employee will be re-assigned to a specific telephone number for this purpose and who will have access to the ticketing system. Tickets for these patrons will be printed and delivered on the appropriate date to the beach entrance staff who will require the patrons to show identification.
- The beach would stay open until 8:00 pm when lifeguards would ask people to leave. The later time would mean fewer cases of additional assistance from By-Law Enforcement and the Cobourg Police.
- Every individual admitted to the beach will be issued a wristband (and possibly also a hand stamp) to accommodate in and out privileges.
- The lifeguard towers will be moved closer to the water’s edge to provide the guards with better views of swimmers without having to patrol amongst the patrons. The Town may install rope barriers between the towers (with designated access points) to create a set back from the water’s edge to separate sunbathers from swimmers/walkers.
- Use the beach washroom facilities within the canteen building. A contract with private company provides for operation and cleaning. This contractor has developed COVID-19 procedures and has the staff to manage this contract for July and August. Additional port-a-potties may be required. This facility will also be available for other park patrons including those simply walking through the waterfront area.
- Alternatively, port-a-potties can be rented and installed on the eastern end of the beach that will include a portable sink facility and two cleanings a day. A private company is able and ready to provide these facilities.
- A third option is a combination of opening the washroom facility and installing a limited number of port-a-potties on the beach to reduce the need for patrons to leave the fenced area.
- Financial Implications
Dean provides detailed estimates ranging from $219K to $377k with the higher one recommended. He points out that If Council decides to open the beach, there is an estimated $102,000 remaining in the Aquatics/ Lifeguards budget and approximately $35,000 remaining in the Beach Washrooms budget.
See the full report in the link below for details.
Staff would need to move quickly to obtain additional bar code scanners, additional summer students, some two-way radios, set up Lifeguards with YMCA and more.
It’s acknowledged that there may need to be changes based on experience with the plan.
The report provides the details requested by Council. It’s now up to Council to decide at their 29 June meeting whether to proceed with a re-opening on July 6 – which of course misses one of the busiest periods.