Champlain Township council approved a resolution during a special teleconference session July 9 to restrict access to L’Orignal Park and its popular beach and boat launch facility to local residents until further notice.
LISEZ UNE VERSION FRANÇAISE DE CET ARTICLE
La plage de L'Orignal réservée aux résidents locaux
The residents-only restriction was sparked by concerns about maintaining COVID-19 protection guidelines as the provincial government begins relaxing some of its restrictions on social gatherings and public recreation facilities that were imposed during the early days of the pandemic.
“Over the past two weeks, we experienced an amazing influx of visitors at our beach,” stated Mayor Normand Riopel. “With this warm weather and after spending weeks of home confinement we can understand that people need to get out, have fun, go to the beach.”
Last month the township set up a monitoring program for the park and beach area, involving both OPP and the local bylaw department, in response to complaints about vandalism and rowdy behavior at the park by some people who refused to follow social distancing and other public health safety guidelines. Now township council and staff have agreed to restricting access to the park area to local residents.
“We partnered with the OPP; scheduled additional employees; added two more portable washrooms; added more signage, et cetera,” stated Lisa Burroughs, parks and recreation director. “We anticipate an increase of visitors at the beach as we enter the month of July and people are taking their vacation and we don't have the resources to enforce even larger crowds so limiting access to residents only will ensure that our residents and staff remain safe.”
Until further notice, township staff will now man the entrance gate to the beach and boat launch area, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Anyone age 13 and older will be asked for identification to prove they live in Champlain Township before being admitted.
“No identification means no admittance,” stated Mayor Riopel. “No exceptions will be tolerated. We must do our part to keep the COVID numbers down in our community.”