At a special Emergency meeting tonight, Council voted six to one to allow Victoria beach to be open only on weekdays but with capacity limited to 1200. This is effective May 31. Councillors Burchat and Beatty would have preferred it to be open all days and Councillor Darling wanted an opening delayed until June 14. Councillor Chorley explained that the public survey indicated a partial opening was preferred and Health advice is to avoid crowds which are more likely on weekends. The decision taken was essentially the second of three options proposed by staff. Option one was to keep the Beach closed and Option three was to open it with no restrictions. The Staff report (see links below) included the option to provide a beach camera as is currently done in Wasaga Beach but Council did not think it necessary.
- Enforcement of capacity will be managed by counting the number of people entering and leaving. In general, people would not be allowed to re-enter after leaving so Porta Potties would be required inside the fence.
- If there is a problem with capacity, Police or By-Law officers can close the beach.
- By-Law officers would patrol as usual to ensure normal by-law compliance and educate people on spacing requirements.
- There will be no Lifeguards – notices will be posted saying “swim at your own risk”.
- Staff recommended that there be no distinction between local residents and non-residents. To do so would be against human rights rules and asking for an ID with address would be a problem. There is more detail about this in the staff report.
- The staff report was put together with input from the ECG, the District Health Unit, the Emergency Planner and the Police.
- Funding for unusual Covid-19 related items has been provided by the Province so there is no cost for these measures to the Cobourg Municipal taxpayer.
- An agenda item will be added to COW Council meetings so regular updates will be provided. If needed, beach closure measures can be modified.
The photo below shows what the closure looked like last summer.
Final Motion passed
Moved by Councillor Chorley, Seconded by Councillor Beatty:
THAT Council direct staff to open Victoria Beach on weekdays and close the beach on weekends and public holidays (July 1, August 2, and September 6, 2021) starting May 31, 2021 and in effect until Friday September 10, 2021; and
FURTHER THAT staff install metal fencing and barriers with emergency access points and utilize beach signage, and a communication plan, to ensure users understand the Provincial Orders and Physical Distancing and other requirements as set out by Federal, Provincial and Public Health authorities; and
FURTHER THAT a maximum beach occupancy load of 1,200 people be established to facilitate physical distancing, and that authority be delegated to Town of Cobourg By-law Enforcement and Cobourg police Service to temporarily dose the beach if overcrowding occurs; and
FURTHER THAT the costs outlined in the Staff Report for Option 2 be covered by the COVID-19 Resiliency Funding as follows: Fencing – $16,100, Signage – $2,500, and Opening fence and closing each week, $300.00
The upcoming recommendations by the Parks and Recreation Advisory committee on handling crowds at the Beach were not mentioned nor discussed. The West Beach and the West Harbour were also not mentioned nor discussed.
- Staff Report with background, analysis and recommendations
- Beach Survey Results – 4 March 2021
- Wasaga Beach Cameras
Addendum – 28 May
Here is what Prince Edward County is doing about “Over-Tourism”