City Hall tightening restrictions on Barrie beaches to combat crowding during a pandemic

All infractions will get you a ticket

The City of Barrie is introducing some new rules to guide behaviour at area beaches due to several weekends of overcrowding.

After noting large crowds at city beaches over the past few weekends, especially at Wilkins Beach in the south end, Barrie City Hall has elected to step up by-law enforcement across the city with a focus on Wilkins and nearby Tyndale Beaches. Enforcement Services will be ticketing at both beaches for any infraction and will not give a verbal warning first. BBQs are banned at Wilkins Park altogether, and BBQs are not permitted on any sandy area of any city beach. These changes take effect immediately.

Scenes from a Stage 2 Saturday in Barrie

City Hall says a staff beach clean-up crew will be established, with a specific concentration on Wilkins Park and Tyndale Beach.

Effective Wednesday, July 8, non-resident waterfront parking rates will increase to $10 per hour with a daily maximum of $50.

This comes following a plea from Ward 10 Councillor Mike McCann to close the city’s beaches to all but residents and family of residents, in response to overcrowding at Wilkins Beach. In response to Tuesday’s announcement, McCann took to Facebook to air his frustration. “I am disappointed Mayor Jeff has ignored my request to limit our beaches to only Barrie residents,” he said online. “Our beaches this weekend were flooded with people coming up from the GTA which remains a COVID hot spot.”

It was later revealed Tourism Barrie had been promoting the beach to visitors.

The city had previously restricted parking to residents only as a means of curbing crowds, and while hundreds of parking tickets have been handed out, it has yet to have the desired effect on controlling crowd sizes at Barrie hot spots.

RELATED: TOWN OF INNISFIL TURNED AWAY OVER 1,200 AMID TIGHTER RESTRICTIONS ON AREA BEACHES

Meanwhile, the Town of Innisfil reports the restrictions it put in place for its beaches were effective in preventing crowding last weekend. Over 1,200 non-resident vehicles were turned away from Innisfil Beach Park, 128 parking tickets were handed out, and 36 vehicles were towed. The Town claims many local beachgoers say they felt safe and grateful to be at the beach.