‘All are welcome:' Nobel beach will remain accessible to everyone in 2021

·2 min read

The Municipality of McDougall received a recommendation from its parks and recreation department to continue to allow unrestricted access to Nobel beach.

The director of parks and recreation, Brian Leduc, said at council's Dec.16 meeting that the increase of beachgoers over the summer likely had to do with COVID-19 restrictions on southern beaches, like in Simcoe County.

“This caused friction with (McDougall) ratepayers and regular area beach-users as it was expressed that persons coming from COVID hotspots were coming to Nobel and potentially bringing the virus with them,” Leduc said to council.

“It is my opinion that after COVID-19 is behind us and Ontario goes back to somewhat normal routine, most of the new users from southern Ontario will revert to their historic leisure areas south of McDougall.”

The parks and recreation department recommended two options for the use of Nobel beach in 2021.

Option one would operate Nobel beach the same as pre-pandemic; all would be welcome to use the beach.

The second would allow only McDougall ratepayers to use the beach.

“The problems and concerns voiced by ratepayers this past summer was not because Nobel beach was overcrowded, it was fear of virus spread from new visitors,” said Leduc.

Mayor Dale Robinson said that there was no urgency in making the decision but asked if the addition of a swim area would be put in place for either option.

Leduc replied that there would be.

“As an operational item for next year we would just add a division area of floating buoys that would segregate the swim area off from any boats that would try to come in there,” he said.

Council voted unanimously in favour of option one, with the addition of a segregated swim area.

Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star