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Thursday, May 7, 2020

Local Mayors Talk With Premier About Upcoming Long Weekend

Bruce Peninsula | by Claire McCormack  

Closed beaches & upholding the short term rental ban are key for some cottage country mayors.

Closed beaches and upholding the short term rental ban are key factors for some cottage country mayors when speaking to the Premier ahead of the May long weekend. (May 15-18)

South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson was one of numerous Mayors on a call with Premier Doug Ford Wednesday (May 6th) to discuss what might be lifted and what might be restricted.

Over the course of the pandemic, town officials on the Bruce Peninsula have been discouraging visitors and in some cases, cottage owners from travelling to the peninsula.

Now more communities have become more comfortable with cottagers, but Jackson says they should bring their own supplies, and stay at their cottages.  

During the course of the pandemic, the province has not banned travel around Ontario and it has not banned cottagers from visiting their properties.

Right now, a Provincial ban still stands on short term accomodation rentals and the use of campgrounds and trailer parks (unless its a person's only Canadian residence). Boat launches are also still closed by the Ontario Government.

Currently, the Province's Emergency Orders are in place until May 19th.

Beach closures range from community to community. The beach in Sauble is closed, whereas the boardwalk on the beach in Southampton is open and people are allowed to walk and exercise along Station Beach in Kincardine including stand up paddleboarding and canoeing and surfing.   

While there are no plans to open Sauble Beach for the long weekend, Jackson expects people will still want to get out of the city, "We will discourage any daytrippers and weekend trippers from coming up. Cottage owners-- they are property owners and tax payers and have a legal right to certainly be here. We're just asking them to not bring friends and family and please abide by all of the rules. Lets just get through this thing together and if everybody follows all of the rules then hopefully we'll get out of it sooner rather than later."

Jackson doesn't know if a fire ban in Bruce County will still be in place, as of now, it is still under a ban.

Jackson says other local mayors on the call with the Premier included Kincardine Mayor Anne Eadie, Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau and Northern Bruce Peninsula Mayor Milt McIver.

Meanwhile, Jackson says Ford directed mayors and staff of various towns on the call to put together a report of losses and expenses due to COVID-19 and send it to Steve Clark, Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs' office. "I'm encouraged that our expenses or perhaps losses as a municipality due to this COVID pandemic might be reimbursed by the province."

As for any changes between now and then, Jackson says, "I am going to be issuing a message leading into the long weekend," says Jackson who plans to post it to Facebook early next week.

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