Beware, beachgoers. As preparations are underway to reopen many of Ontario's businesses and outdoor spaces, Wasaga Beach is also having to get ready to reopen its lakefront areas as of Friday, June 12. But the mayor of the town is unhappy with the move as the busy summer season arrives.
Ontario announced on Monday that most areas outside the GTHA can reopen a bunch of amenities as part of "stage two" of the recovery period.
That includes beach access and additional camping at Ontario parks. The popular Wasaga Beach falls under that category.
However, in a press release issued on Tuesday, June 9, mayor Nina Bifolchi voiced her concern and frustration at the move.
Her main worry is about a huge influx of visitors from Toronto, coupled with the fact that it sounds like parking lots, washrooms, and other facilities won't be opening along with the beach on Friday.
A spokesperson for Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks told Narcity on Wednesday that parking lots and washrooms will still be shut this weekend.
"Ontario Parks is conducting critical maintenance and other park start-up procedures and ensuring operational and safety protocols are in place," read the statement. "A reduced number of parking lots and washrooms are scheduled to be open on June 15."
So, while things should be different by next week, it sounds like any visitors on the beach's first weekend are going to be left with some big problems.
Our latest COVID-19 Information Bulletin is now available. In the update, Mayor @ninabifolchi shares concerns about… https://t.co/24hTafQsff— Town of Wasaga Beach (@Town of Wasaga Beach) 1591734769.0
In the release, Bifolchi notes she was already seriously worried about GTA residents packing up their cars and all turning up at the beach at once.
"That concern remains today," she says.
Bifolchi noted it is the province that owns the beach area in Wasaga, and it's Ontario Parks than runs it. That leaves her hands pretty much tied.
"It’s going to be a challenge,” she warned.
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park was able to reopen for limited use last month along with other provincial parks, but the beach and facilities remained closed.
Now, the beach itself is opening.
After what happened at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto when facilities were similarly unavailable, it's perhaps unsurprising that the town is worried.
Maybe Wasaga should invest in some similar signs just in case?
For now, if you don't want to take the risk of making the long drive to Wasaga without guarantees, you can use the beach's live stream.
Enjoying the sunny views from the comfort of your own home might be better advised. The town seems to think so.