By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
A strong show of support by members of Cobourg council to open the beach was thwarted at this week’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, but an opening in several weeks’ time is not out of the realm of possibility.
Councillor Nicole Beatty made the motion to open the beach with a capacity of 1,200 on June 26, with town staff, bylaw-enforcement officers and police authorized to close the fence in case of overcrowding, following the report by Deputy Director of Community Services Teresa Behan that the weekday-only openings were going very well with no more than a few hundred people a day.
Beatty cited the very favourable case counts and vaccination numbers that had been shared by Chief Administrative Officer Tracey Vaughan earlier in the meeting, as well as rumours of an accelerated Step Two in the province’s three-step reopening plan.
Councillor Adam Bureau liked the returns such a move promised to local businesses and the tourism industry.
“I think we should be following the province, and the province is slowly opening things,” Councillor Aaron Burchat said.
“I think it’s only a good thing, moving forward, to open up public spaces such as our beach.”
Mayor John Henderson, however, conveyed concerns from last week’s board of health meeting about the transmissibility of the Delta virus that made him want to wait for better vaccination numbers before taking that step.
While not opposing a beach reopening per se, Councillor Brian Darling did oppose a reopening prior to the July 1 holiday weekend that would bring much higher numbers than usual to the shore.
But it all became academic when municipal clerk Brent Larmer pointed out that the original motion could not be overturned easily, as it had included an end date – providing for weekday-only beach openings until September.
Larmer set out the options, such as a notice of motion at the next council meeting (June 28), which would provide for discussion at the subsequent committee-of-the-whole meeting (July 19), which would potentially lead to adoption at the next council meeting (July 26).
No other action was possible at Monday’s meeting, Larmer added, unless council voted to suspend the rules of order. Beatty made such a motion, but Henderson, Darling, Councillor Emily Chorley and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin voted against it.
Burchat asked about filing a notice of motion. Larmer said that could be done, but it would have to be requested in writing to be put on next week’s council agenda.