WASAGA BEACH, ONT. —
The Town of Wasaga Beach is cracking down on overcrowding at the beach.
Town officials said the Canada Day crowds were the final straw after three weeks of physical distancing issues.
“We saw human behaviour at its worst, quite frankly,” said Wasaga Beach Deputy Fire Chief Craig Williams. “Many visitors displayed a reckless disregard for public health guidelines when ignoring physical distancing recommendations.”
In response to the overcrowding, the town passed a motion at an emergency meeting on Thursday to restrict the number of beachgoers as soon as possible.
“We will be limiting the parking in that area. We’ll cut it back 50 per cent for now. It may be greater down the road,” said Mayor Nina Bifolchi.
The motion would also see the sand portion of Beach Drive closed from 3rd Street to Spruce Street by next Thursday.
Wasaga Beach councillor Stan Wells doesn’t believe it’s enough.
“I think the need to shut those parking lots down and reduce needed to go far further than 50 per cent, and maybe even a total shut down, except for resident parking passes,” Wells said.
Visitors will still have access to beachfront businesses and the water, which is controlled by the province.
“We only have control of Beach Drive, and that’s what we’ve dealt with today, and hopefully, the province will be looking over their areas in town,” Bifolchi said.
The mayor said she intends to reach out to the province to request it to reassess the situation and consider closing the beach entirely.
Town council also passed a bylaw that would see fines of up to $750 for anyone caught in the closed areas of the beach.