City opens boat ramp, lifts COVID-19 fire ban

Centennial Park boat launch at Sarnia Bay Photo courtesy of @Sarnia_Ontario

The City of Sarnia has reopened the boat launch at Sarnia Bay and has lifted its recreational fire ban.

Mayor Mike Bradley said the restrictions, issued in April as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, have been reviewed by the primary control group weekly.

“We will continue to monitor the use and if people are abusing it, we’ll deal with that through the normal process, but I do think it’s time, as the province starts to loosen up as it relates to retail and other operations, that we move forward and after five weeks of these bans, we believe that’s the right thing to do,” said Bradley.

Bradley said both restrictions received significant push back initially.

“It died down quite a bit in the last couple of weeks since there was more acceptance and understanding that we’re trying to protect our firefighters and also we were trying to protect the public as it relates to exposure.”

Bradley said the opposition was not the deciding factor.

“We withstood the pressure and yes, it was difficult. When people are saying, ‘I’m not going to vote for you ever again.’ My response would be, ‘that’s your choice.’ I have to make the best decisions for the community on public health issues and that’s what this was all about.”

In light of easing restrictions, residents are reminded to comply with the city’s open-air burning bylaw, maintain physical distancing and not to gather in groups of more than five people.

Sports fields, playgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, park shelters and their associated parking lots remain closed under a ban by the provincial government.

In an effort to remain consistent with the city, the Village of Point Edward also lifted its fire ban Friday.