LONDON, ONT. --
South Bruce Peninsula is temporarily closing all of its beaches, including the popular Sauble Beach, after the town's mayor said Monday that "day-trippers flagrantly defied our restrictions."
Janice Jackson said council decided to temporarily close the beaches after they were overwhelmed with day-trippers over the last two weekends.
“Council is incredibly worried at the thought of 60,000 visitors to our tiny beach over the long weekend and how that would inevitably affect our community during this global pandemic,” said Jackson on Facebook.
Jackson said many people witnessed recklessness among beachgoers over the last two weekends, but noted that most residents were following the rules.
“We still expect to see large numbers over the long weekend, but we hope to reduce the usual numbers with pointed messaging to the GTA,” said Jackson.
Jackson also alluded to the fact that bylaw officers could only do so much with so many people attending the area, noting that they only have six officers to cover four kilometres of beach.
The town is reaching out to the premier’s office asking for an increase in OPP coverage for the area to help relieve the pressure.
The move to close the beaches comes as several area beaches in southwestern Ontario began to reopen on Monday.
While Jackson concedes this won’t be a popular decision for many, especially seasonal businesses, she says council stands by it.
“I would prefer to take criticism for being too cautious than to ignore this problem and watch our community pay the price.”
Tom Laforme is a Sauble Beach business owner. He is livid with South Bruce Peninsula council for closing the beach.
“It’s not based on facts, it’s based on fear. This is killing the businesses here. I rent cottages. Since seven this morning, I’ve had four cancellations. What am I supposed to tell families with little kids, you can walk on sidewalk, but not the beach?" says Laforme.
Brad Tupman lives in Sauble Beach. He is glad the beach has been closed.
“People are coming here from Toronto and Brampton and area, and they’re doing whatever they want. They don’t follow the rules. They put up these huge tents, and then go to the bathroom inside the tents, on the beach,” says Tupman.
A number of Sauble beach business owners are meeting Friday night to see what they can do to save their summer.