Cottage Country city leaders step in for the summer season


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What should cottage owners do during the first long weekend of summer, when a provincial stay-at-home order is in effect until June 2 due to the pandemic?

Technically, no one is supposed to go anywhere, with a few exceptions: unless they go to their second home to do maintenance, sell or buy a second home, or take care of someone. in a second home.

“No one should be making the trip at all,” said Janice Jackson, mayor of Sauble Beach (220 km northwest of Toronto).

“And with regard to our seasonal cabins, the provincial rule is that you have to stay 14 days. And short-term rentals are banned across the province until at least June 2. I think most people buy into it, but not everyone. We will be very happy to welcome everyone back once the lockdown is over. “

Pat O’Reilly, deputy mayor of Kawartha Lakes (140 km northeast of Toronto), said some cabins – ranging from those who have been coming for over 50 to 100 years and newcomers – have arrived at their second homes well before the long weekend of May 24th. .

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“With the number of places that were closed during the winter, a number of cabins that usually went south, many of them moved here during the winter and their cabins are now permanent homes,” O’Reilly said.

“But I’m not ready, and I certainly don’t think our board is ready, to tell people that they can’t come here, especially when they’ve been coming for years and years.

Steffen Walma, deputy mayor of Tiny (150 km north of Toronto), said any seasonal cottage owners who come will hopefully arrive with supplies for their stay and only go out for essential reasons.

“Being responsible is sort of the key point in this regard,” Walma said. “If you can use the grocery store pickup option, as opposed to the walk, avoid going out and spending time in a large group, and just come and enjoy your cabin.”

But if not, the Town of Tiny learned a lot from last summer that it will apply to this one.

“Our recreational programming last year was obviously very successful,” said Walma.

“So knowing that we adapted and started offering programs online,” Walma said. “We also have our beach in a box programs, so you can actually order a day camp in a box, and we have different themes like science, so families can basically provide a camp experience for their kids. .

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Walma said he has also eliminated paid parking with higher water levels this year, reducing space on public beaches.

One of the welcome provincial news on Thursday was to allow golf courses, tennis courts and other outdoor recreational activities to start over.

“I was on the local golf course (Thursday) and within 30 minutes of the Premier opening golf course on Saturday they were solid,” Jackson said.

As for renting a cottage in Southern Ontario when and if you can, the demand has never been higher.

“The past year has been incredibly busy on the Peninsula,” Jackson said. “Most of our business community has performed above average.”

Business is expected to be the same or even better this summer, after retail and restaurants were hit the hardest by COVID restrictions last year.

“I think with the vaccinations, a lot of people getting a dose and hopefully a second dose in the weeks and months to come anyway, a lot of business people I’ve spoken to are optimistic about it. the fact that this summer will definitely be better than last summer, ”said O’Reilly.

Walma added: “Obviously we don’t know where things are going to end up this summer. We are optimistic and hope that at least the patios (restaurant and bar) will be open. We have a lot of beautiful oceanfront dining areas.

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