Victoria Beach Is “Crisis In The Making” If It Remains Open Lawyer Tells Council

In Editor Choice, Local

An open beach is a crisis in the making states a local lawyer in a letter to Mayor John Henderson and Cobourg Council.

Greg Kay wrote to mayor and council about concerns with having the beach open this summer.

In writing to the town Kay states that the Greater Toronto Area represents 76% of new cases of COVID-19 in the entire province.

Henderson e-mailed Kay back stating he was working with Brent Larmer on calling a Special Meeting of Council in relation to Section 5.11-5.14 Council Procedures per By-Law 009-2019.

“The only item for discussion within the Special Council meeting will be Victoria Beach.”

Kay’s letter to council is below:

Closing of Town Beach

Mayor Henderson, Deputy Mayor Seguin, Councillors Beatty, Burchat, Bureau, Chorley and Darling:

I am writing to urge Town Council to immediately pass a by-law closing the Cobourg Beach.

Due to physical distancing and the closure of various businesses and facilities, the County of Northumberland has only 16 confirmed cases of Covid-19. In contract, as of today the Greater Toronto Area has 3,171 active cases representing over 76% of new cases in the entire province.

It is clear from last weekend’s events at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto and many open beaches in the United States that it is impossible to enforce physical distancing in mass gatherings. It is also impossible to maintain virus-free public washrooms that are frequented by large numbers of people. Closed washrooms present other problems to be avoided.

It is well known that hundreds, if not thousands of individuals from the Great Toronto Area attend at the Cobourg Beach from May to September each year. The placement of a large sign at the west entrance to the beach asking beachgoers to maintain physical distancing will not be of any assistance in preventing the importation of the Covid virus carried by an asymptomatic person. Viruses do not read or comply with signage.

An open beach is a crisis in the making, particularly having regard to the fact that more than 30% of the Cobourg population is 65 years of age or older. A large influx of Covid patients would in all likelihood overwhelm the capacity of our local hospital.

Strong, decisive leadership is required from Council at this time. I am asking Mayor Henderson to call an emergency meeting before this weekend pursuant to section 5.15 of By-law 009-2019 to deal with a matter deemed to be of an urgent/emergency nature that may impact the health, safety or well-being of the community. The failure to immediately pass a by-law closing the beach may have significant adverse consequences for the citizens of Cobourg, Northumberland County and beyond.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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