The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) plans to produce an interactive map to help residents navigate what is open and what is closed during COVID-19.
“I have received so many calls and questions from residents about what they are allowed to do and where they are allowed to go. People are in the dark and they need some direction,” said Peter Bordignon, TBM councillor.
During a virtual TBM council meeting held earlier this morning, town council and staff have decided to develop a web-based map to help provide residents some clarity as to what is open in town.
“We are getting rapidly to the point where the things we can’t do are as long as your arm or twice, but the list of things you can do is quite short, so maybe we should start saying what you can do. If it is not on this list, then you obviously can’t be doing it,” said Rob Sampson, TBM councillor.
The TBM has been actively closing town facilities since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in early March. Closed town facilities have been marked with on-site signage and barricades in parking lots, however, town council members say residents are still unsure of what they can and cannot do.
“There has been a lot of discussion over the weekend about what is open, what is closed,” said Bordignon. “I think it would be very advantageous to provide some clarity on whose jurisdiction those areas are under as well. Are they town property, or conservation property? We need to be very clear on what is open, what is closed and whose responsibility it is.”
Along with town closures, TBM residents are also trying to comprehend closures from the province and local conservation districts.
Currently, as per provincial requirements, all town playground structures, athletic fields, tennis courts and the skateboard park are closed for public use. The town has reminded residents and visitors that the Tomahawk Golf Course and recreational area has not opened for the season and will remain closed until further notice. Public washrooms will not be opened, and portable toilets will not be installed.
The province has outline the closure of public places and establishments; closure of non-essential workplaces; prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people; and closure of all communal or shared, public or private, outdoor recreational amenities everywhere in Ontario, including but not limited to playgrounds, sports fields, basketball and tennis courts, off-leash dog parks, beaches, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas, outdoor community gardens, park shelters, outdoor exercise equipment, condo parks and gardens, and other outdoor recreational amenities.
The TBM continues to have facility closures, including Town Hall, Beaver Valley Community Centre, Craigleith Community Centre, Ravenna Hall, and The Blue Mountains Public Library.
“There will be certain areas of town that are completely closed, like the harbour. In talking with staff and the OPP, it was becoming very challenging for them to enforce people being able to walk through certain areas and then some taking advantage of opportunities to be down there. We have had to completely close access,” said Ryan Gibbons, director of community services.
The TBM is currently working on developing the interactive map. Gibbons says TBM staff expect to release the map to the public sometime this week.