After two months of being closed on weekends and holidays, Cobourg Council decided on Monday to re-open Victoria Beach seven days a week. First, James Quelch and Rachael Currie presented a petition from 125 residents asking for the Beach to be fully open and then the DBIA provided a report on what Downtown merchants thought. But it was not a simple “open or not” discussion – Councillors wondered how staff and enforcement would cope with large crowds or even an emergency shutdown mandated by the Heath Unit or the Province. Nicole Beatty spearheaded the push to open the beach and she was willing to be flexible to accommodate concerns. Aaron Burchat wanted to fully re-open with no fence but his amendment failed 5 – 2.
Deputy Director Teresa Behan said that if the fence was returned to the vendor, there was no guarantee it would be available in an emergency and that if it was dismantled and stored it would take 8 people 5 to 6 hours to re-erect.
The DBIA conducted a survey of 49 downtown businesses. It was conducted recently but no specific dates were provided.
- 62% wanted the beach open full-time with numbers monitored and limited
- 17% wanted the beach open on weekdays only
- None wanted it fully closed and the rest had other suggestions (not provided)
In addition respondents were asked “to what extent does your business benefit from visitors to the beach?”
- 27% said a great deal
- 4% said a lot
- 10% said a moderate amount
- 12% said a little
- 47% said none at all.
Although the DBIA poll was accepted as correspondence before their Beach discussion, Councillors did not discuss the findings.
In the end, after considerable discussion, it was agreed that the beach would re-open immediately, for 7 days a week. However, the fence would remain in place until September 7 with several openings for access. There would be no counting for occupancy purposes although at their discretion by-law officers and Police could decide to close the beach. To make this decision, they would be guided by the Provincial directives in place at the time. If as expected the Province is fully open on August 6, there would be no limits at that time unless restrictions were re-imposed. Other measures such as social distancing would be per Provincial directives.
Here is the motion that was passed.
That Victoria Beach fully open effective immediately and
FURTHER THAT the fencing at Victoria Beach be removed on September 7, 2021
AND FURTHER that authority be delegated to Town of Cobourg By-law Enforcement and Cobourg Police Service to temporarily close the beach if overcrowding occurs and
FURTHER THAT the costs be covered from the COVID-19 Recovery Funding as follows: Fence – $ 16,100, Signage – $ 2,500.
Will we ever get back to what we used to see? Photo is from Sunday 17 July 2016.