Sauble Beach is shutting down because of day-trippers from Toronto
One of Ontario's most idyllic cottage communities has closed off its 11-kilometre-long freshwater beach to everyone, tourists and residents alike, thanks to rowdy "visitors from the epicenter of Ontario's COVID hotbed."
Yeah, that refers to Toronto.
The Mayor of South Bruce Peninsula, which is home to Ontario's famous Sauble Beach, announced on Monday that her team had "made a very difficult decision" to close all beaches within the town after two consecutive weekends of observing "the recklessness of beachgoers" in the area.
Pointed post from South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson as she announces Sauble Beach is now closed after daunting crowds the last two weekends and out-of-town rule breakers. Jackson says they’re reaching out to the province to see if OPP can help with future enforcement. pic.twitter.com/iSbm6yMJxD— Erin Anderson (@erinbailey_a) June 23, 2020
"Most of our residents followed the rules and we thank you for that, but the day trippers flagrantly defied our restrictions and took over many parts of the beach," wrote Mayor Janice Jackson in a Facebook post Monday evening.
"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," she continued. "Our community has remained relatively virus free and we want to remain that way."
Jackson didn't mention Toronto by name, but she did say the town hopes to reduce the number of people who visit the Sauble Beach area this weekend with "pointed messaging to the GTA."
Given Sauble Beach only has 2,000 residents it’s probably a safe assumption 🤪— Sammy (@SammyTheGorilla) June 23, 2020
The Mayor explained that the move was necessary, as local law enforcement officials simply don't have the capacity to enforce COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines for tens of thousands of people at once.
"Our Bylaw Enforcers have taken much criticism for not enforcing the beach," said Jackson.
"In their defence I want to remind people that we have a 4km beach and with 6 Officers dealing with various issues, they covered as much ground as they could... In addition to our challenges, we had little to no help from the overtaxed OPP. They are short officers and often can’t respond at all."
Jackson admitted that she realized the decision wouldn't be a popular one, but that she would prefer to take heat for being too cautious than to "ignore this problem and watch our community pay the price."
Sadly, the community appears to be paying the price either way in the form of petty vandalism on town property.
Photos uploaded Tuesday morning by a local resort called Red Bay Lodge show graffiti plastered across a public, beachside washroom facility.
SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULA RE-CLOSES BEACHES incl Sauble after reckless beachgoers flagrantly defy walk-thru rule, took over beaches. 91 tickets issued. Bylaw officers overwhelmed; OPP were no help. Photos: @goetzla, https://t.co/nAA9wyMegL pic.twitter.com/tzXYHiB2o4— Chronicle.Lance (@ChronicleLance) June 23, 2020
"We are DEEPLY saddened to learn of the disgusting vandalism on our town's facilities," wrote Red Bay Lodge in the caption of its post.
"Resorting to this vulgar messaging after the decision to close Sauble Beach shows so much about one person, and our collective response of love today will show even more about everyone else."
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