Council, at their regular meeting of April 7, 2020, amended By-law 54/2017 being a By-law to Regulate, Protect and Govern the use of Parks, Recreation Areas and Park Facilities to prohibit camping in Optimist Park and Cavan Street Park during the upcoming opening season for trout fishing. In addition, Council passed Resolution 24/2020 requesting that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) consider postponing or cancelling the upcoming trout season on the Ganaraska River as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. This letter was submitted to the Province on Thursday April 9, 2020.
To date, the Province has not responded or indicated that fishing seasons will be postponed. Based on current communications, it appears that this request will not be initiated, and it has been indicated that the season will proceed as planned.
Staff have reviewed several options and in order to prohibit fishing in the river from Molson Street to the mouth of the river, a closure of all lands under ownership of the Municipality that border the river would be required. This would include all greenspaces and trails and would prevent access to the river through municipal properties.
In addition, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) own a significant number of properties along this stretch. Staff have been in contact with GRCA staff and they are supportive of restricting access to properties owned by
Parks, Recreation & Culture Report - Park Closures Page 1 of 2 Report to Council – April 21, 2020
the GRCA from Molson Street south to the Lake. A meeting of the GRCA Board was held on Thursday April 16, 2020 and the Board has supported this initiative (Attachment 1).
Section 19.3 of the Parks By-law 54/2017 states the following:
19.3 Temporary Closure:
The Director and/or Chief of Police and/or Director of Fire and Emergency Services and/or By-Law Enforcement Officers are authorized to close off for such temporary period as deemed appropriate any Park, Recreation Area or part of parts thereof to relieve or prevent overcrowding or traffic congestion, authorized construction, weather conditions or in the interests of public safety.
Staff are recommending that a Resolution be passed to support the closure of all municipal properties that border the Ganaraska River from Molson Street south to Lake Ontario effective Wednesday, April 22, 2020 until May 12, 2020 in the interest of public safety.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Municipality has taken the necessary steps to meet the requirements of both the Federal and Provincial governments related to closures and restrictions to public spaces. The annual opening season for trout typically draws a large number of anglers to our community which can prove problematic in an effort to ensure social distancing and reducing gatherings of 5 or more people are maintained.