Marinas now open in some Essex County communities
With the province of Ontario giving the green light for marinas to reopen, some local marinas are back in business.
Premier Doug Ford has allowed marinas, golf courses, private parks, and campgrounds to reopen, with strict physical distancing in place. Individual businesses and municipalities, however, will make the final call on whether they believe it is safe to reopen.
This is welcome news for local boaters anxious to get out on the water this Victoria Day weekend. Marinas and boat launches opened Friday in Kingsville, and on Saturday in LaSalle and Lakeshore. Leamington plans to open its facility up on Tuesday.
Kingsville had originally planned to only launch boats, but now has begun partial service at the marina. Boaters will be expected to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and restrict users per vessel to immediate family members only, and Mayor Nelson Santos said last week that he believes the same careful consideration to slow the spread of COVID-19 will carry over onto the water.
“We want people to enjoy the nicer weather, the fresh air and the water, but to do so responsibly,” said Santos. “Our community has banded together to follow these very important recommendations from our public health officials and we’re confident that safety will remain top priority as our boaters start getting out on the water.”
Those using the Kingsville launch are asked to keep in mind that the washrooms, fuel service, beaches and public parks will remain closed until further notice. Boaters are asked not to congregate on the dock, but launch their vessels and leave, and only launch their own crafts. Additional guidelines can be found on the Town of Kingsville’s official website.
The Belle River Marina had opened for boat launching only on Wednesday, and the marina partially reopened on Saturday.
The cost to launch a boat is now $15, applying only to non-slip renters.
Limited staff is on-site for security, checking slips for correct boat placement, and collecting fees. A security company will be on-site evenings and overnights. Boat slips, with the exception of those on docks B and C, will have hydro and running water. Docks B and C currently have broken pipes with a repair scheduled for Tuesday, according to Lakeshore town spokesperson Rita Chappell.
The marina’s office and washrooms will be closed until Friday, May 22, at which time seasonal boat ramp passes will go on sale. Fuel service will not be operational until Friday, May 29, pending certification and calibration.
The LaSalle boat ramp, at Front Road and Laurier Drive, is allowing boat launches for free, with no attendant present, so users may launch boats at their own risk.
The boat ramp’s washrooms remain closed until further notice, so boaters are asked to bring their own hand sanitizer and practice physical distancing. Groups of more than five people are not permitted to congregate at the boat ramp.
The town also reminds residents that a flood watch has been issued by the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) for portions of the Windsor-Essex area. The boat ramp may experience some flooding, and the facility may be closed with no notice should it occur.
The municipality will open its marina and boat launch on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Leamington had spent the last couple of weeks preparing the marina for the coming season, once provincial authorities gave the go-ahead. Additional staff will be called back to operate the marina.
“The health and safety of our employees and the public remains our top priority,” said Peter Neufeld, Leamington’s chief administrative officer. “We have been working to ensure appropriate safety protocols are in place and we are confident we can safely welcome boaters back to the Marina on Tuesday.”
Physical distancing guidelines apply, and as in other communities, boaters will be expected to expeditiously launch their vessels and not congregate.
Complete information on Leamington’s marina policies is available on the municipality’s official website.