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Let's not fail our children's learning and mental health in this town. Kids and youth need the beach open to play, learn and exercise. We all do.

We ask for your support in denouncing the closure of Cobourg's beach and ask for an immediate opening (with accessibility mat) as our right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (mobility section) and "Reopening Ontario" Legislation.  People depend on the beach for their physical, spiritual, and mental health

We are asking you to please use your voice and email our town Councilors
Subject line: Open the Beach for our Children

Cobourg Council must follow the rules laid out by Ontario's Covid legislation, which states Cobourg Victoria Beach should be open for exercise and recreation as of May 22nd.  The "Stay at Home" order which is in effect until June 2nd, permits exercise and recreational activities on the beach (see legislation below).

Council has called an emergency meeting this Wednesday May 26th to discuss options of opening the beach (see options below). The decision to use the beach has already been made by the Ontario government. What we are asking for is an immediate opening and a clear communication strategy to support the Health Unit's recommendations for outdoor activities. Enforcement of social distancing practices is the responsibility of the Police, and access to the sand and water does not preclude enforcement. Enforcing social distancing measures is not the responsibility of Cobourg Council.

We all have the right to use, or not use the beach.

Exercise as defined by Cobourg Council as "walk-through" only in public places does not reflect the diverse abilities of all individuals or provincial legislation.

As a member of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities (CIM)  Cobourg has responsibility to support health equity. Health equity is when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible, regardless of age, physical ability, preference, or economic opportunity. Our children may be the minority in Cobourg, but their health and the health of all with diverse abilities must be respected and supported by Cobourg Council.

There is NO legislation that allows the current closure of Cobourg's Victoria Beach.

Current Legislation

The Province announced the reopening of recreational amenities, such as Cobourg's Victoria Beach on Saturday May 22, 2021 at 12:01 A.M.
In addition to the Reopening Ontario Act O.REG. 82/20 amendment, the Provincial Stay-at-Home Order that is in effect to June 2, 2021 has been changed to include the following:

Requirement to remain in residence:

1. (1) Every individual shall remain at the residence at which they are currently residing at all times unless leaving their residence is necessary for one or more of the following purposes:

16. Exercising, including,

1. walking or moving around outdoors using an assistive mobility device, or

2. using an outdoor recreational amenity that is permitted to be open

We support the recommendations by our local health unit: "go out for essential reasons, including exercise and enjoy the nice weather, but do so safety. Maintain physical distancing and consider wearing a mask if you cannot stay two meters apart" (Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit, 2021).

Options to be discussed at Wednesday's May 26th emergency meeting:

A report by the Town's Park and Rec department has presented three options (below) for the summer, two of which are NOT legal or acceptable. Option #3 is the ONLY legal option that upholds the rights of citizens to exercise and do recreational activities at Victoria beach while adhering to public health measures.

Option #3: Beach open and no fence

Option #1: Beach stays closed until Friday September 10, 2021 inclusive, with fence.

Option #2: Beach open on weekdays and closed weekends and public holidays (July 1, August 2, and September 6, 2021) starting May 31, 2021 and until Friday September 10, 2021.

The collective goals of Cobourg citizens and Town Council are the same: to prioritize the health and wellbeing of Cobourg residents. Let's all follow the rules created by medical professionals and the Ontario Government.

Rachael Currie and James Quelch
Cobourg Residents

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