A sure sign that fall is just around the corner: there are no longer lifeguards on duty at Barrie beaches.
Steve Lee Young, Manager of Recreation and Culture Services at the City of Barrie, says Centennial Beach lifeguards clocked out at the end-of-day Friday because, in many cases, they have to prepare to go back to school. “We do hire a lot of students. The majority of our staff are usually post-secondary students,” he told Barrie 360. “A lot of them need at least a weekend or so here to close the beach off, and then they get themselves ready for their fall endeavours, off to post-secondary school.” Lifeguard coverage at Johnson’s Beach ended the Friday prior.
Lee Young points out the beach going season was a bit busier this year compared to the last few. He adds there were some unusual circumstances affecting attendance over the past while. “The last couple of summers, we’ve obviously been impacted by COVID-19 here. Previous to that, we had some construction and that going on as well, to beautify our waterfront. So a normal quote-unquote “summer,” we haven’t had in a little while.”
“We’ve exceeded our last year’s numbers of over 150,000 visitors on land and water,” he added.
While there were fewer COVID-related restrictions on beaches in 2021 than in 2020, there were still some rules to follow. Lee Young says they made sure everyone did abide by those rules. “Our staff are trained from a customer service standpoint that way, and we provided as much information as we can,” he said. “We work collaboratively within the City of Barrie, with having our bylaw department to support. If we needed to go to that extreme with Barrie Police Services, we all worked collaboratively just to create awareness and education with any comments that came our way.”