The municipality of Grey Highlands is gearing up for another busy summer by establishing additional OPP highway enforcement and tourism ambassadors in hotspots.
“The municipality of Grey Highlands, along with some other municipalities in the Grey-Bruce detachment area, have entered into contracts with the Grey Bruce OPP detachment for additional paid-duty officers on weekends to patrol the Highway 10 corridor,” said Grey Highlands Mayor Paul McQueen.
“Grey Highlands specifically has committed to additional officers for two, three-day weekends this summer,” he continued.
As previously reported, Grey Highlands council has approved contracting two weekends worth of additional police service, which will cost the municipality $10,200. The funds are expected to come from the Policing Reserve Fund, if COVID-19 relief funding is not applicable; that reserve currently has a balance of $75,618.
The additional OPP patrols are scheduled for the July and August long weekends.
In addition, the municipality will be establishing summer ambassadors in areas that were considered to be hotspots last summer.
“Last year, we had seen congestion issues in areas within the Grey Highlands borders, notably Hoggs Falls, Old Baldy and Eugenia Falls,” said McQueen.
He added that although those properties are not under the jurisdiction of the municipality, the economic development department has received approval for two full-time summer tourism ambassadors that will be stationed at Hoggs Falls to provide guidance and assistance.
“These ambassadors will be working as part of a regional network of tourism ambassadors that includes students working with other municipalities, conservation authorities and other agencies,” explained McQueen.
“They will be communicating with each other in real-time this summer in an attempt to redirect visitors in overcrowded areas to other locations throughout the region,” he said.
McQueen adds that as this is the second summer season dealing with COVID-19 closures, restrictions and in-province tourism, many procedures the municipality has in place will only require "tweaks."
“This should provide for an easier transition this year as we will not be starting from scratch,” he said, adding that the main difficulty with reopening “generally lies with the last-minute announcements by the province which can affect the timeliness of response”.
McQueen also noted that the municipality established a Municipal Emergency Control Group at the onset of the pandemic, which has been meeting regularly to review the opening and how it relates to Grey Highlands and items within its care and control.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca