A tale of two beaches - Sauble open; Wasaga closing

cjos sauble

Dock News stock photo 

 

The Welcome mat is out at Sauble Beach once again.  

After a special meeting of South Bruce Peninsula council on Thursday, July 2, they've decided to fully re open all of their beaches on Friday for sunbathing and swimming.  

But there will be some changes made in light of what happened the last time they re opened and thousands disregarded orders to physcially distance.  

New measures will include more signage along the beach, making masks available through public health and trying to hire off duty OPP officers on weekends to help with enforcement.  

The town has already hired a private firm for that but they've run into some issues of their own with people threatening their lives and employees quitting.  

Town officials say its even difficult to get paid duty officers to patrol the beach.  

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra was at the meeting and says NOT re opening  can also have negative health effects on residents and business owners because of the toll it takes on the economy.  

He says he's confident Grey Bruce can deal with any outbreaks that may arise from opening the beach.  

Council says it will monitor the situation for the next few weeks and then decide what to do about the Civic holiday weekend in August.  

Here is the official release ~ 

At today’s Special Meeting, and on the advice of Dr. Arra, Council resolved to open all beaches in South Bruce Peninsula, including Sauble Beach. 

In June, Council chose to open the beaches on a trial basis for the purpose of “walk through” access only.  That trial failed as our beaches, particularly Sauble Beach, were overwhelmed with many who did not adhere to the restrictions or to Provincial COVID guidelines. The beaches were immediately closed.

This is Council’s second attempt to open the beaches which will be done with clear community messaging, Council’s approval to hire “paid duty” Police to assist on weekends at Sauble Beach and the Health Unit’s offer to supply face coverings to anyone attending the beach.  Council will be meeting on a weekly basis to assess the adherence to the regulations and to determine if the beaches will be safe enough to remain open on the Civic holiday weekend. 

Beach patrons will be able to enjoy the beaches including sitting, sunbathing, etc. but must adhere to Provincial orders regarding social distancing and gathering numbers.  Beach patrons must also adhere to all other by-law provisions which are applicable to the individual beach locations.   

Council is appealing to the Sauble Beach business community asking them to implement social distancing measures and ensuring all employees wear personal protective equipment.

“This must be a joint effort between the Town, our residential community, business community and our visitors. If everyone follows the rules and respects one another, we should have no issues going forward” says Mayor Janice Jackson. 

Meanwhile 120 km to the east, Wasaga Beach is planning to shut down their main beach area ahead of next weekend after what town officials call a 'blatant disregard' for the rules after thousands crammed the strip of sand on Canada Day. 

As a result, council will be sending a letter to the OPP and Ontario Parks voicing their frustration with what they call 'inaction' on the part of both provincial agenices to enforce the emergency orders.  

They'll also be limiting parking capacity at the beach by 50 percent.

The moves are expected to be in place July 9th.   

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