These Ontario municipalities are imposing restrictions on out-of-towners to discourage visitors
TORONTO -- With the May long-weekend approaching and summer on the horizon, some Ontario municipalities are taking extra measures at its beaches and waterfronts that officials hope will discourage large gatherings and visitors from other regions.
For the second summer during the pandemic, officials in Innisfil, north of Toronto, are restricting parking and the use of the boat launch at the popular Innisfil Beach Park to local residents starting on May 21.
An entry gate will be installed at the park's entrance with town staff controlling access.
Innisfil's mayor says the restrictions are necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“To help reduce crowds and out-of-area travel, we’re imposing measures that will keep our community safe while the province’s vaccination program reaches more people,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin. “Our residents did such a great job following the COVID-19 measures and guidelines at our beaches last summer and we are counting on our citizens to show that same level of support and co-operation again.”
Parking is also being banned on streets near beaches and waterfront parks in Oakville.
From May 15 to September 15, parking fines will increase to $100 on local roads adjacent to popular waterfront parks at Bronte Beach, Coronation Park and Tannery Park.
“We want people to enjoy our parks safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “When parking lots are full, neighbouring streets are impacted and overcrowding can occur. If the park is busy, please try another park in our town or come back at a different time.”
The town says other enforcement measures are being considered by council to ensure parks continue to be available and safe.
Ajax charging non-residents $20 to park at waterfront
The Town of Ajax is now charging non-residents $20 to park at its waterfronts and beaches in order to manage an increase in parking on weekends and holidays.
Starting May 15, residents will have to pay for parking online before visiting or face a $60 fine.
Town officials and local residents say the waterfront was extremely busy during the first summer of the pandemic drawing people from across the Greater Toronto Area and the increased traffic caused several problems.
"What happened last summer, streets were jammed pack, emergency vehicles couldn't get through, people couldn't access their driveways," said By-law services manager Derek Hannan.
The plan includes designated parking areas at six waterfront parking lots and signed streets. Ajax residents can park for free at designated parking areas by registering their license plates online.
"We're trying to ensure the waterfront is accessible to Ajax residents and if the $20 dollar fees deterother groups from coming in then it will open up space through that the process," Hannan said.
The new waterfront parking plan will be enforced until September. By-law services will be focusing on education and awareness, with enforcement beginning after the May long weekend.