By: Karen Wolfe
On April 17, Council took a look at $70,000 worth of staff recommendations to address resident complaints related to overcrowding at Georgina beaches.
Some of those recommendations made sense…increased police presence and staff visibility, increased illegal parking enforcement, increased garbage collection and washroom maintenance. Pretty routine and common sense stuff.
But, in my opinion, here is where the recommendations went afoul of common sense and veered off into the realm of “are you kidding me?” Staff is recommending we put signs at the major entrances to Georgina telling potential tourists that our beaches are full and that they are at capacity.
First of all, municipal-owned beaches are NOT the only beaches in Georgina. There are private beaches that offer parking and access to Lake Simcoe, plus the province owns a huge piece of Georgina lakefront known as Sibbald Point Provincial Park.
These beaches may not be at capacity when the Town owned beaches are. Therefore, putting up signs saying Georgina beaches are at capacity may have the negative impact of turning away tourists when capacity is still available.
Even though this recommendation got passed at the meeting, council left it up to a waterfront committee to decide how to implement all of the recommendations. Hopefully they recognize this one is better off in the waste bin.
There is nothing wrong with the current practice of putting a “Parking Lot Full” sign at the
entrance of the various beach parking lots.
The other issue I have trouble supporting is reducing the number of parking spaces at our
beaches and converting them into reserved spaces for our residents.
The only way I could support that approach is if they expanded the number of parking spaces we currently have. And I know of at least three beaches where that possibility exists so let’s get moving on that first.
But what really surprises me is the total lack of attention and commitment our beaches have received from every sitting council since I’ve been publishing this paper.
They all tell us that Lake Simcoe is Georgina’s greatest, bestest and number one asset, yet they have spent, and are still spending, millions of dollars on other amenities that have never been touted as our greatest asset and have absolutely no chance of becoming one–let alone being profitable.
And yet, here are the beaches…which have netted hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years…and no one is paying them any mind. And it is that lack of attention and vision that has us scrambling at the 11th hour to figure out where to put everybody that wants to enjoy Georgina’s number one asset–the beach.
Yes, they will be spending $125,000 for a consultant to come up with a waterfront strategy. But in my opinion, that is something that should have been done years ago.