'All we're trying to do is stay in our bubble,' Oxford County, Ont. snowbirds left with no place to stay
OXFORD COUNTY, ONT. -- A group of snowbirds in Oxford County say they’ve been left with no place to go this winter because of COVID-19.
The resort they call home, Spring Lake, in South-West Oxford, closes every year for the month of January, and many are afraid to go south.
“Not feeling that safe this year because of the numbers,” said six-year resident Mary Naylor through tears. “And of course I’m worried about everybody at the park. We’re all concerned about our safety.”
About 30 residents find themselves in this predicament. With COVID-19 raging in some of the southern states, not to mention social and political turmoil, they don’t want to take any chances.
“And with the COVID thing you can’t even go to your relatives,” said resident Martin Leslie. “People here have health issues. We’re all seniors. And this is our home. And all we’re asking is for this year only for an exemption on January so we can all be safe.”
Residents say for months they’ve been asking Spring Lake parent company Parkbridge to allow them to stay for January, but they’ve been getting the runaround.
And with the calendar getting closer to year’s end many are growing anxious and upset.
South-West Oxford Mayor David Mayberry says the township is willing to temporarily amend the zoning for Spring Lake to allow it to remain open in January. All that’s needed is a formal request from Parkbridge.
“And we’re just waiting for them to respond. I understand that they are thinking about it and we’re very open to having a conversation with them. I think we can be very flexible on the rules.”
There may be some encouraging news for residents.
After CTV News contacted Parkridge, Lachlan MacLean, the company's vice-president of Property Operations, issued the following statement.
"We have been making arrangements to meet the legal and operational needs required to accommodate those customers who are unable to travel this winter. Our resort manager at Spring Lake is contacting affected customers directly to discuss how we can accommodate their needs, including remaining at the resort this January as an exceptional option."
Leslie adds, “Like our premier says, ‘stay in your bubble.’ That’s all we’re trying to do is stay in our bubble.”