By Graham Whittaker
Beach Drive in Wasaga Beach will be closed this summer.
Last year, Wasaga Beach experienced exceptionally high water levels and frequent storms which led to several floods of “The Strip” — an approximately 360-metre stretch of road that runs along Beach Area 1.
The water levels of the Nottawasaga Bay are expected to be even higher this year; the highest the area has seen since 1986. So instead of spending the summer cleaning-up after every flood, council decided to move forward with proposed plans to not reopen the road.
The 2019 floods displaced a large amount of sand from the beach onto the roadway, making it inaccessible to vehicles. The sand was cleared from Beach Drive a total of four times and each major clean-up cost an average of $15,000.
After more flooding in the fall, which pushed sand and water right up to the doors of beach-side businesses, the municipality decided it would close the road for the winter. It’s estimated 40 centimetres of sand is under the snow.
Rather than clear the road after everything melts, Beach Drive will remain closed for the duration of summer 2020. The town is also discussing the possibility of closing the road permanently.
With the sand already in place, and other beach areas being reduced by the flooding, Beach Drive will serve as an extended beach area for the summer. A walkway is planned to be cleared for beachgoers, but this will serve to be a bit of a challenge and subject to a period of trial and error.
All roads leading to Beach Drive will be closed and Spruce Street will be fashioned into a two-way road, using a municipal parking lot as a turning circle to feed traffic back towards Mosley Street. This way, the provincial park and parking lots at Beach Area 1 will remain accessible during the closure.
The town will also be putting measures in place to protect local businesses from the flooding, as well as implementing a raking program to ensure the extended beach remains clean.