City of Toronto confuses people by blocking off parking at popular beach
Residents of Toronto looking to get outdoors and enjoy the weather this weekend amid the current provincewide shutdown and stay-at-home order found themselves unable to gain access by car to one of the city's most popular lakeside parks.
Those who headed to Cherry Beach in recent days but don't live within walking distance of the fairly remote Port Lands arrived in their vehicles to discover that the green space's two designated parking lots were completely blocked off, forcing citizens to go home or park elsewhere.
@BradMBradford curious why is Toronto police restricting vehicle traffic into cherry beach at 3pm on Sunday? City parks / beaches are still open according to the website. Why the restrictions? @CP24 pic.twitter.com/OSE14vZByt— Mark Appelman (@appelman3888) April 25, 2021
Many were surprised and confused, thinking that the move was some type of enforcement of tcurrent provinical orders despite the fact that parks in the city are still operational with the exception of certain amenities.
While basketball courts, soccer fields and outdoor gym equipment is off limits, playgrounds, washrooms, trails, pathways and green spaces themselves are still open for public use — or at least should be, according to Ontario guidelines and the City website.
Do we not have better things to spend city money on right now @JohnTory?!— Katherine Wellman (@kewellman) April 23, 2021
Some took to social media to express their frustration at what they thought was police overreach, given that some authorities were spotted on the scene.
It seems, though, that officers may have been in the area for other reasons, such as a car accident on Sunday.
The Toronto Police Service's parking enforcement division was also out in full effect to fine those who had decided to park on nearby roadways against posted bylaws in order to get to the beach.
Some cited multiple drivers landing tickets of $100 for parking in the area of Cherry Street and Unwin Avenue — one resident even told blogTO that they estimated enforcement busted "close to 100" vehicles, which they speculated was every car parked on the road.
"Parking authorities were at the entrance but not doing/saying anything," they said in an email. "Nothing was happening on the parking lots. It almost felt like they were targeting this area for tickets because the parking lots were closed."
Cherry Beach parking lot closed on the weekend, why? They say outdoors is safe.Folks just park on the road— THE WOOD COMMISSION (@Thewoodcomm) April 26, 2021
As for the closure of the lots in the first place, it appears that the move was not a matter of enforcing the stay-at-home order, but rather of necessary repaving.
Ward 30—Toronto-Danforth City Councillor Paula Fletcher notified constituents last week via Twitter that work on both Cherry Beach lots would commence on the morning of April 20, and could take up to two weeks, during which time both lots may be closed simultaneously.
The page of the City of Toronto website dedicated to Cherry Beach Clarke Beach Park also has a service alert from April 21 indicating that "the Cherry Beach parking lots will be closed for up to two weeks due to paving."
Officers were on scene for a period of time to enforce the closure of the lots and to "manage the number of cars attending and those parked in breach of parking rules," TPS communications told blogTO.
The paving of the two Cherry Beach parking lots will start Tuesday at 7am. This could take up to 2 weeks. Staff are hoping to stagger the lot closures, but the possibility exists that, due to the nature of the grading and paving, there may be periods when both lots are closed.— Paula Fletcher (@PaulaFletcherTO) April 19, 2021
As the weather warms up, Cherry Beach is a boon for locals not just because of its sandy beach, wide open space and sweeping lake views, but also for its off-leash dog area.
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