By: Mike Anderson
Municipalities surrounding Lake Simcoe are asking GTA day-trippers to skip a drive up north this long weekend to help reduce the spread of the virus.
“Georgina is a popular destination for many – but right now, as with many other communities, it is not ‘business as usual.’ In our efforts to protect the health of residents and visitors, we are asking those planning a day trip to put their visit on hold for now,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk in a joint media release from the eight municipalities surrounding Lake Simcoe.
“We certainly understand that people want to get outside, but driving here with your family, with everything closed, including our restrooms, is just not worth the trip. Once it is safe to do so, we all will be able to enjoy our beautiful lakefront once again.”
But, despite restricting public access to outdoor recreational areas like beaches, waterfront parks and playgrounds, the Town plans to open its boat launches this weekend.
Starting Saturday morning, May 16, Young’s Harbour, Adeline and Rayners Park, King Road End, 101 Clovelly Cover, as well as Holmes Point Road across from the Peninsula Resort will open to the public.
However, the Town is reminding anyone launching a boat to maintain physical distancing by staying two metres apart. Parking is limited and available on a first-come basis.
The Town has also opened its local trails. But, there are strict guidelines, including maintaining a 2-metre distance, keeping your dog on a leash, and taking your garbage home with you. For more information on trails, visit georgina.ca/trails.
The Town is also taking steps to improve traffic safety, as the pandemic has brought higher traffic volumes along Lake Drive and Hedge Road.
The speed limit on Lake Drive North and East has been reduced to 30 km/h from 40 km/h, and additional safety signage has also been added to both Lake Drive and Hedge Road.
The Town urges everyone to share the road as these are residential areas that are popular with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts.
“Lake Drive has long been a destination point for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in order to enjoy the stunning views of Lake Simcoe,” said Ward 3 Councillor Dave Neeson, who brought forward the motion to reduce speeds along the scenic roadways.
“There are obvious concerns due to the narrow width of the road, limited shoulders and little to no sidewalks. These concerns have only been magnified during the current global crisis of COVID-19, given the increase in volume.”
Mr. Neeson acknowledges that signage alone isn’t going to slow down drivers. So, he’s calling on York Regional Police to ticket those who don’t adhere to the new speed limits.