On May 18, 2021, the Council of the Corporation of the Township of Hamilton at its Regular Meeting made the unanimous decision to close its municipal boat launches in Bewdley and Gores Landing on weekends only. Effective immediately, the municipally-owned launches will close at 5:00pm on Fridays and re-open on Mondays at 8:00am (Tuesdays at 8:00am on Holiday Long Weekends). The launches will continue to be open and available for public use throughout the week.
This decision was made on the grounds of public health and safety to help stop the spread of COVID-19 into the Township and to protect residents. “This was a very difficult decision for Council to make. Our Waterfront Parks and Boat Launches in Bewdley and Gores Landing have seen unprecedented volumes of people and traffic during the current Stay-at-Home Order and we needed to act to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to our area and to protect our residents” stated Township of Hamilton Mayor Bill Cane. “We understand that the act of physically launching a boat may not spread COVID-19, but when people are coming from hot zones to launch and then decide to stop at our local gas stations, chip trucks, restaurants, and corner stores or to stay in our parks afterwards, that is when the virus could spread to our residents and take its toll on our community. By closing the municipally-owned launches, we hope to encourage people to stay in their own regions until at least the end of this current Provincial Lockdown” Mayor Cane added.
This decision of Council was made prior to the Province of Ontario’s announcement on May 20, 2021 to re-open some outdoor recreational activities and revamp the Provincial Re-opening Framework. “We think it is necessary that our municipally-owned boat launches remain closed during the Victoria Day Long Weekend to help limit visitors coming to the area from hot-zones and to allow our local residents the chance to enjoy their local Waterfront Parks safely. For local residents wishing to hit the waters of Rice Lake this weekend, we recommend that they contact any of the great private launches in the area” stated Mayor Cane.
With the changes in direction from the Province, Council and staff will be monitoring the situation and during the week of May 24, 2021 will be revisiting the decision to close the boat launches. More details on that meeting to come when available.