When public refuses to follow the rules on use of the beach city puts up metal screens.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 31st, 2020



It started on the 25th when the weather was great – that Beach was either just too tempting to stay away from or there are a lot of people who are hard of hearing and can’t read.

On the 28th, Thursday, the city decided they would take strong steps and put up fences to keep people off the beach.

Babes on beach

People want to be near the water – it’s the lake and beach that make much of what Burlington is all about.

The province mandated that Beaches were to stay closed period.

Many appear to have thought that if they respected the six foot social distance rule they were Ok – they weren’t.

The Premier of the Province has taken part in a media event every week day for some weeks. We expect that he will be on TV again on Monday – maybe that rule about beaches being closed will be relaxed.

It was people, people, people - for almost as far as the eye could see along the Beachway.

It used to be people, people, people – for almost as far as the eye could see along the Beachway. Province said No and the sound has fenced off the area.

There are a lot of people who aren’t happy with those Beaches being closed.

The Mayor isn’t one of them. When asked why, she is reported to have told other media that they can look to the FAQ section on the city website for the details.

MMW hair disheveled May 2020

Mayor Meed Ward presiding over a virtual city council meeting

The Mayor’s statement is reported to read: “Unfortunately, despite announcements and signage asking people to comply with the Provincially-mandated beach closure, last weekend, we saw a high volume of users on the beach who even when approached with educational measures by our bylaw team, still refused to leave,” reads the statement.

“Our options at this point are either: to issue a high volume of costly tickets; to accept increasingly higher numbers of COVID-19 in Ontario as we have seen since May 10; or to put up a fence.”

Public beaches across Ontario are currently closed following the provinces Emergency orders.

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16 comments to When public refuses to follow the rules on use of the beach city puts up metal screens.

  • Bonnie

    Tom, thank you for your comments. You have put my thoughts into words.

  • Tom Muir

    All this complaining about the restrictions, lock-downs, and other so-called “nanny” controls, especially the complete and know-it-all rant from Maggie, who is advocating complete anarchy, violence even, where anything people want to do goes, and others here expressing similar opinions and complaints, is dismaying to me I am afraid.

    These public health measures are unfortunate, but they are necessary to protect the public health, the health care system, and the economy from the otherwise out of control spread of this virus that we risk if we use half-baked and apparently uninformed and naive opinion-based policies without evidence-based reasoning.

    Controlling and containing this virus is a necessary condition for any of our society – health, health care, and economy – to function freely, and to allow us to figure out a COVID19-adapted life.

    Burlington is not an island. Just opening things up without consideration of the epidemiological parameters and variability of how this virus lives and operates, will mean that we go back to unrestricted people movement from everywhere to anywhere.

    We do not want to do that, and our policy interventions are based on an understanding of that. So please give the Mayor and all the other politicians a break – they don’t like it either. People need to look outside, to the rest of the world, to see what can happen.

    At present, Burlington may have relatively few cases, but several have died. More cases and deaths in Halton. Ask the families of these people if that’s okay, and if letting people congregate at beaches is more important? And what about the massacres in Long Term Care? Is that all right because they are old, and beaches for all and life with no restrictions is more important?

    Ask if letting people have their own way trumps definite death for some? If a dysfunctional health care system, and under continued risk, as the economy will be, is less important than the wants of people tired of this necessary temporary situation of restriction.

    And I really have no sympathy for those who don’t seem to accept that going for a walk outside, or a bike ride, somewhere uncrowded, maybe with your kids who are at home, is somehow an intolerable situation for a relatively short time.

    Maggie’s 99% recovery, stated with no evidence of fact, still means that 1 in 100 does not recover – so a 1% death rate is okay to her. I can’t imagine that any thinking people would ever accept any other affliction or action that would kill 1 in a 100.

    And don’t ever forget, this case fatality rate is for the entire population, everyone, and the virus does not care. What about the children? I have never seen so many small kids, even very small kids, biking and walking with their young parents. We didn’t really know they existed.

    I must say that this has been and still is, a heartening and joyful experience for both my wife and I. In the past, “normal” times these young people have been largely hidden from us. There is really something to watching a very small toddler, just into walking and biking, pumping their scooter, with joyful and curious looks as they go by.

    It is a fantastic experience for us, and we think for the parents too, as they are having unheard of time off from the routine, and experiencing and knowing their kids in unimagined ways and times.

    I agree with Perryb, move south of the border Maggie, and go really south there, and you can have revolts and guns too. Take your anarchy there. And by the way, Trump just threatened to call in the military, so more you can enjoy.

    Do hurry.

    • Don Fletcher

      Walking along the totally fenced-off Beachway Park and across from the still-unused 93-bed PRU at Joseph Brant Hospital yesterday, made me feel as though I was an innocent in prison. In my opinion, Public Health in Ontario has completely bungled their response to this pandemic, and our complicit Ontario government has employed draconian measures on the public to compensate.

      For example, on April 3rd, the province forecast 80,000 cases by April 30th under then-current restrictions. We recorded 16,187. That’s a 500% forecasting overage over a less than 4 week time span. I took the time to contact the epidemiologists at the DLPSH who produced this forecast and challenged their assumptions as being overly pessimistic. A 70 year old with a comorbidity was assumed to have a 20% mortality rate if s/he contacted COVID-19, while the overall mortality rate in Ontario of individuals 60-79 on April 3rd was actually 2.9%.
      How did all this inform public policy?

      The point is Tom that you can’t swallow whole what Public Health dictates. Did you know that in early April, nurses who were confirmed COVID-19 positive but asymptomatic were required to be available to return to work as long as they had donned sufficient PPE, apparently because Public Health was concerned about staff shortages?

      I hate to think how effective their “test & trace” program is and will be. Those fences at Beachway Park could well be permanent.

      • Tom Muir

        I don’t want to argue with you as we are coming from different premises, so we will never agree. I will say that it is very easy to criticize, somewhat bitterly or angrily as I sense you doing, and with 20-20 hindsight it’s really easy to confirm whatever point you want to.

        In my view of policy analysis and risk assessment, as I practiced it, the most important thing is an appreciation of the probability of being wrong and the severity of the consequences of that error.

        If the risk to be avoided is death of the most vulnerable then assumptions will be conservative. In public health modelling, of something completely novel and apparently lethal, you are flying blind and the primary policy objective is to avoid worst case outcomes.

        Another key variable is surge capacity in hospitals and the policy objective of not swamping the health care system, infecting the health care staff, and losing the system to disease. That’s why the Joe Brant 93 beds were built, as a surge cushion that was considered as a need at the time.

        More assumptions you can criticize, but you were not in charge or responsible for the consequences of being wrong. Being wrong with disastrous consequences is damning, but being wrong with little consequence when all the chips are down is not.

        You say public health was overly pessimistic, but what about all the deaths in long term care? It seems as if elderly people, especially >80 years, that got infected were going to die in the noted assumption range of 20% or higher.

        This was a disaster (maybe you disagree and blame heath officials and politicians) caused by freely moving care workers and visitors, congregated in small spaces, with no testing, which is just what the restrictive interventions you are complaining about are designed to reduce as much as possible.

        This is still a learning process about the many cracks in our systems that the virus has exposed glaringly. And I just recalled here about the farm workers, who despite 14 day quarantines that have been stated, still have severe outbreaks recently and overwhelmed the local health care capacity.

        Draconian is what China and others did – lock-down meant you didn’t even go out of the house and nothing really was open, for more than 2 months. Other countries in Europe that waited or woke up late, wound up doing the same thing strictly, and lost it for months with many cases and death everywhere in the population including doctors, nurses and other health care workers. These were examples that we had to pay attention to.

        This is still happening as the virus continues its march in places that are doing nothing or very little, (Brazil) and so are following your advice it seems of not making pessimistic assumptions about where things might go. The virus is far from gone and it waits for mistakes.

        Is that another failure of public health all around the world. We are not out of the woods yet.

        I think you are too harsh and not considering that the existence of chance, and being wrong, have two-sides in very different consequences from error.

        I said I didn’t want to argue – sorry. But this can go on and on, and I don’t mind what has been done based on a lot of evidence.

        • Don Fletcher

          You are entitled to your opinion Tom, preferably without attacking others who don’t agree. Ontario’s Public Health response has come at a tremendous societal & financial cost. In my opinion, a more common sense approach such as authored by B.C.’s Adrian Dix & Dr. Bonnie Henry could have served us better. Enough said.

  • Tim C

    The city created a problem they didn’t need to. People using the waterfront with common sense and proper social distancing are not getting hounded in Oakville and Hamilton. It only makes sense for people to spread out and give each other more space than to all gather together at Spencer Smith (except the cyclists of course who were long ago banned as if they were disease carrying rodents).

    The City stated that they “re deployed” some city workers as bylaw officers and sent them to the beach. In widely circulated photos 3 of these guys can be seen clearly not wearing masks and 1 has a bull horn. What jobs were these workers re deployed from? Did they get any training at all? Did someone think to mention to them it just might be a good idea to wear masks if you claim to be there in the interest of public health?

    The fence itself is an eyesore and even closes off all benches and picnic tables. I feel sorry for the workers at Joe Brant who might just want to sit at the beach by themselves for a few minutes on their lunch break to get some peace. I guess the city didn’t think of them.

    I have to side with the ‘Tear down the wall!’ crowd on this one. Sorry layed-off Zamboni drivers that don’t know enough to wear masks.

    • Phillip Wooster

      An interesting contrast with Mississauga. There, Mayor Bonnie Crombie, has redeployed personnel from the City’s recreational department as “Goodwill Ambassadors” whose job it is to visit City parks and open areas to remind people of the need for social distancing—a positive message to encourage good behaviour. No heavy handed enforcement, although as Mayor Crombie noted, that is still possible if needed.

  • Eleanor LeBlanc

    A walk along our sandy beach is a way of enjoying nature, lifting our spirit and keeping safe by avoiding a collision with racing bikes along the adjacent paved path. It provides us with extra space to distance ourselves from others, as we do at Spencer Smith Park, walking on city sidewalks and shopping at local stores. The fencing erected is an unnecessary expense by our nanny government and an insult to taxpayers, particularly when Halton residents have done a commendable job in keeping the COVID-19 infection rate at a very low level. Bring back our beach!

  • Bonnie

    I do not live in a large house but rather in a two bedroom condo. During recent months, we have enjoyed daily walks, as well as outdoor chats with our neighbours, while maintaining our social distancing. We have also done curb side pickup for food from our favourite restaurants. People who say they have been’ locked in their homes’ for months, seem to out of touch with reality.
    I for one, am pleased with the steps taking by our mayor and council to protect the residents of our city and I think the number of cases in Burlington reflect their efforts..

  • Doug Wilcox

    A e-mail to the Mayor of Burlington dated May 29th.

    Hi Marianne,
    I hope that you and your family are well during these strange times, I have been riding my slow urban mountain bike down to the pier and back respecting social distance rules for the duration of the Pandemic, not once during any of my rides did I encounter any Burlington citizens on the beach breaking social distancing protocols, today I observed that you have erected fencing along the entire beach strip, could you kindly tell me what the impetus was for doing do so and the cost to taxpayers to do so? The Province is easing restrictions on the Lockdown and you are escalating them, do we really need to erect a physical barrier during this difficult time when most people already feel constrained and confined?

    Douglas Wilcox

  • Stephen White

    What the COVID-19 pandemic clearly has cited is the inability of our local administration to see this crisis through to finality. That means not only managing the lockdown, but also, the transition to opening the economy and supporting local businesses as they recover.

    You cannot expect to keep people locked up inside their homes for two months and then not expect them to want to get outside once the nice weather arrives. Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in a 2,500 sq. ft. house with large property. People need to get out outside, get some fresh air, and, as realistically as possible, interact with others while maintaining proper social distancing.

    The public has had enough of these silly homilies about hand-washing and social isolation. We get it. What we want to see now from our civic officials is less control and more emphasis upon reasonable measures to open things up. The simple blunt truth is if people don’t get some recreational relief, and we don’t get this economy back working soon, we will be looking at a significant increase in mental illness, domestic violence and permanent unemployment, not to mention sowing the seeds for violent social discord.

  • Phillip Wooster

    Your pictures are misleading–they weren’t taken on the 25th or even this spring. I’m a birder and for the past 6 weeks I’ve been monitoring the shoreline along the beach strip–the beach is still littered with the winter/spring flotsam and debris that has accumulated along the sand. Hardly inviting. The other thing I haven’t seen are large numbers of people out on the beach–yes a few people walking along it, even a few stopped to have a snack. In short, no reason for this fencing! Yesterday, a very nice sunny day if a bit cool, I was down at Hutches on Hamilton Beach—no fencing on the Hamilton side of the canal. Lots of people at Hutches and walking/cycling along the pathway. Some were even eating their Hutches’ grub on the rocks bordering the beach. But the only problem I noticed with social distancing was a group of senior bikers in the parking lot.

    So why the difference in approaches between Burlington and Hamilton? Are Hamiltonians more responsible than Burlington residents? Or is it than Hamilton is treating its citizens as adults and with respect while here in Burlington, MMW–Big Sister, a true believer in Big Government likes to order them around?

  • Maggie Steiss

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. These restrictions and lock down are totally out of hand. We need to take back our lives, our businesses, our parks and our beaches. I see little difference between a park and a beach. Both are outdoor public spaces. Restricting one and not the other is totally illogical and asinine, but then the majority of the restrictions of the lock down fall into that category. We need to tell governments of all levels to GO TO HELL. We need to REFUSE TO COMPLY WITH THEIR NONSENSE. If they put up a fence, pull it down. If they give us a ticket fight it or rip it up in front of them. We need to take back the beach, which is publicly owned by the taxpayers, BY FORCE IF NECESSARY. The lock down was supposed to be for 2 weeks so as to not overwhelm the heath care system, which should have been better prepared in the first place. Month later we are still not fully opened up and the results are already becoming devastating. People need to realize that this virus is not going away anytime soon. We can’t just stay locked away indefinitely. The consequences of the lock down and restrictions will be more deadly than the virus.
    For those of you who say that I and others who might share my opinion are selfish, don’t care about people or are disrespectful or irresponsible I say to you that it is because I care that I realize the restrictions must end. Peoples lives are being devastated, It is not a sustainable situation. If you wish to stay locked away in your homes because of your fear about a virus with a 99% recovery rate, that is your choice and must be respected. But the rest of us need to get on with our lives as we feel is right for ourselves and family.

    • Collin

      The death rate among confirmed Covid-19 cases in Canada is about eight times higher than the figure you seem to have pulled out of Donald Trump’s hat.

    • Perryb

      Maggie, I am sure you think you speak for ‘everyone’, but you are wrong. Your inflammatory language would be better expressed if you were to move south of the border, and could easily get you ‘locked down’ in a way you won’t enjoy.