Beaches and waterfront parks to stay closed

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The Town of Georgina will not reopen beaches and waterfront parks on July 1, as a result, the beaches and waterfront parks will remain closed. After reviewing other lakeside communities and their challenges, the Town has determined beaches and waterfront parks will remain closed until such time when it is determined that the Town can safely open these public areas.

“A lot of work has gone into our reopening plans. We know that opening the beaches and waterfront parks brings a new set of challenges, including enforcement, safety of our staff, traffic management, parking and potential overcrowding,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk. “If we can’t control the number of visitors to ensure physical distancing, then we need to keep the beaches closed. We received a lot of comments from our residents and we listened to their concerns. We need to remember that we are still in a pandemic and we all have a part to play in keeping us moving forward.”

The Town sought legal opinion in regards to making the beaches and waterfront parks resident only and were advised it does not have the authority under the Municipal Act, and could potentially be left open to a Charter challenge. The Town's Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is reviewing the issue of making some of the waterfront parking resident only. Other concerns raised with the reopening of beaches and waterfront parks included the enforcement of these areas, traffic management, impacts to neighbouring residents, and the safety of visitors and staff. If it is determined at a future date that beaches and waterfront parks will reopen, further details including permitted park/beach use, parking and new controlled public access measures, will be announced prior to reopening.

The Town issued a Declaration of Emergency on March 19. The decision allowed the Town to be aligned with the province and reinforce the importance of physical distancing and self-isolation. The EOC is part of the Town’s emergency plan, comprised of the Mayor, CAO, Fire Chief and senior members of staff who meet regularly to discuss and review the issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mayor and CAO have delegated authority to enact decisions from the EOC.

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