BNIA COVID-19 Update: What it means for cottagers

Dear BNIA Member:

I sincerely hope your family is healthy and coping well with this crisis.

Despite these challenging times – or perhaps because of them – our thoughts turn to the Bay, opening the cottage, and summer pastimes. Doubtlessly, you are receiving copious information re COVID-19 from multiple sources. For our part, we merely wish to relay certain information on matters as they relate to Bayfield Nares and which will hopefully guide your decisions and actions in the foreseeable future.  


The cardinal rule throughout is to abide by restrictions in force and recommendations from authorities, and to exercise an abundance of caution. At the time of writing, non-essential travel is not recommended, which includes travel within the province. Here’s a relevant article that we recommend:

Impact on Local Infrastructure 

Please be mindful that if you do travel to cottage country, you are risking placing an additional burden on the local services, and in particular the healthcare system. The hospital in Parry Sound (WPSHC) has only 3 ICU beds and 7 ventilators to service a very large area. In the words of our Township Councillor Peter Frost, “Please respect our local population and its relatively limited resources.” That said, if you feel you must head north, support local businesses and services that are open in any way you can.

Access and Services

While we have attempted to contact all local marinas (including those in Pointe au Baril), all we can say with certainty is that they are all under restricted operations. Naturally, you will contact your marina to clarify exactly what they are doing with respect to launching and servicing boats.  

Doug Wagener and Dennis Scale have received many enquiries from cottagers eager to open early. We caution against this. April can be a nasty month on the Bay, especially for those who aren’t used to it, and water levels are high. Our recommendation is for cottagers to respect their normal seasonal opening times, if those indeed remain viable, and to also respect Doug’s and Dennis’s customary procedures.  

Township Offices

Our Township’s offices are closed. For information regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community, including closure and service disruptions, go here.

Of particular significance is the following notice regarding the water supply at the Pointe au Baril Community Centre: 

Please be advised that due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and legislative requirements, the Township may not be able to service its water treatment plant in the near future and therefore, this water service may be discontinued.  It is imperative that you find alternative arrangements for water as soon as possible.   

For the time being, water is available Monday to Friday between the hours of 12:00 noon & 4:00 p.m. Staff will no longer be in attendance to monitor or assist. Staff will endeavour to sanitize this space before 12:00 noon and after 4:00 p.m. each day. Please be diligent and utilize the hand sanitizer prior to and after using the tap.

We are monitoring all of this closely and will keep you informed of any changes on these subjects in the coming weeks, especially as the cottage season approaches.

Our very best wishes to you and your family.

— April 2, 2020

John McMullen, President, BNIA