Too popular: Iroquois, Morrisburg beaches ‘temporarily’ closed weekends

Iroquois Beach, as it appeared on Sept. 24, 2017, when technically closed for the season. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

SOUTH DUNDAS — Victims of their popularity during these COVID-19 times, the Morrisburg and Iroquois beaches are now “temporarily” closed weekends, starting this weekend.

The Municipality of South Dundas announced the policy today, saying it’s in response to “ongoing concerns regarding physical distancing and traffic” at both spots on the St. Lawrence River.

The move comes after an assessment of high-traffic volume on weekends since the beaches’ June 22 reopening. Stoked by recent heat waves, the sites have felt the pressure of a visitor influx as fewer pools and other amenities are on-stream elsewhere in the region as a result of pandemic measures.

“Physical distancing and safety precautions are still vital to decreasing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” South Dundas observes in a press release. “High-traffic public places increase the risk of transmitting the virus and the safety of the South Dundas community is the number one priority for the municipality.”

Both beaches will remain open during weekdays, Monday to Friday, with washrooms available at the Iroquois beach house between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The equivalent facility in Morrisburg remains closed due to maintenance work, but the municipality says it will supply a portable washroom in that community instead. However, washrooms will be shut during the temporary weekend closures.

“We have heard the concern from our residents and seen over the weekends how busy the beaches have become,” said Mayor Steven Byvelds. “While we want to continue providing these leisure services to our residents, their safety is more important. By closing the beaches on the weekend, it is our hope that the traffic will be reduced and we can continue to operate throughout the summer.”

Iroquois swimming lessons will proceed as scheduled on July 6.

Meanwhile, South Dundas intends to consult provincial and regional advice “as the summer progresses for updates regarding re-openings and/or further closures.”

The municipality again urges beach users to respect proper physical distancing guidelines and safety procedures.

 

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