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COVID-19 Update: Ontario marinas open for cottagers, with safety provisions

May 15, 2020 There’s been a flurry of Ontario government announcements over the past week with respect to marina openings, and access to marinas for seasonal cottagers and recreational users. Here’s a summary.

Late on Friday, May 8, the Ontario government made a significant change to its essential services provisions that allows marinas to prepare AND open for seasonal residents only, in time for the holiday weekend.

It is important to note that the primary purpose for allowing the marina openings, according to the government, is to give property owners a chance to access to their cottages to deal with any winter damage. It is not meant to signal “business as usual” in cottage country.

Cottagers visiting their properties via marinas will still have to abide by Ontario restrictions around social distancing, family groupings and small gatherings. Marina operators will have special measures in place to ensure safe operation.

Read more details from the Georgian Bay Association about the weekend opening and the Ontario announcement here. As always, Bayfield-Nares cottagers should consult with their respective marinas regarding special measures in these extraordinary times, and arrangements for boat launching.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, May 12, the Ontario government also extended its Declaration of Emergency, with details about the wider economy. It also announced further details about Stage 1 of the provincial re-opening plan on Thursday, May 14, available here.

As of Saturday morning, May 16, marinas are now fully open for recreational customers as well, not just seasonal cottagers, but again with appropriate protocols in place.

Have a nice holiday weekend everyone, and safe travelling for those visiting their cottages for the first time.

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: Marinas can prepare for summer, but are not yet open to the public

COVID-19 Update: Marinas can prepare for summer, but are not yet open to the public

May 4, 2020 The Ontario government announced on May 1 that certain businesses and workplaces, including marinas, could reopen to prepare for the summer season on May 4, as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Of particular interest to cottagers, marinas are permitted to begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

The announcement included other seasonal businesses such as golf courses and garden centres. 

The government emphasized that although some businesses are being permitted to reopen, it is critical that people continue to stay home, practice physical distancing and only go out for essential reasons, to pick up groceries, prescriptions or to keep a medical appointment.

Further information on the new Ontario guidelines is here.

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: Ontario emergency extended to May 12 at least

COVID-19 Update: Ontario emergency extended to May 12 at least

April 15, 2020 Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced on April 14 that the province will remain in a state of emergency for another month. 

All non-essential businesses are to stay closed. This means all marinas are closed until May 12, at which time the situation will again be evaluated.  We will continue to inform you with updates.

Yes, this is a highly unfortunate situation.  We all wish we could be up on the Bay.  However, we must put ourselves second.  To travel from our city homes to Parry Sound, Bayfield, Nares or Pointe au Baril means risking, not only our own health, but the health of local essential workers and residents. That increases the opportunity exponentially for the virus to travel and infect more people.  Though we may not know a great deal about this virus, we do know that much!

There should be no “they have access, I don’t” or such thoughts.  It will do no one any good if we mistakenly think we can go to our cottage and not affect — or offend — anyone who permanently lives there.So please, put yourself second — and know that we will return to our cottages when it is safe for everyone. 

On another note, stemming from a webinar call hosted by the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations last night, the recommendation was made that if you had any concerns about insurance coverage, your inability to access your cottage, etc. that you check with your insurance broker.  Also (and with apologies to and without meaning to burden the likes of Doug, Dennis and others) that you perhaps prevail upon a local to run by and take a look.  Remember, we’re all in the same boat so let’s pull together.  

John McMullen, President, BNIA

Photo of - COVID-19 Update:  Our marinas must comply with closures

COVID-19 Update: Our marinas must comply with closures

April 12, 2020 We are all in this Covid-19 crisis together, and the Province has made an Order that has resulted in many measures to protect our health and well-being, including the mandatory closures of recreational facilities and, specifically, marinas, province wide.

Until the Province lifts or amends the current Order we cannot expect our boats to be launched, nor can we make that much anticipated first trip to the cottage.

Please be understanding and respect the fact that our local marinas and contractors must comply with this order and none of us should put any of them under undue pressure to ignore these restrictions (none of which are their doing).

The more we comply, stay home, practice social distancing, and hand-washing, the sooner we will be able to enjoy life without fetters.

Peter Frost, Councillor, Ward 2, Township of the Archipelago

Photo of - COVID-19 Update: Let’s pull together

COVID-19 Update: Let’s pull together

April 11, 2020 The following notices concerning COVID-19 were received from Maryann Weaver, Emergency Information Officer for the Township of The Archipelago.  We are passing them along for your information and guidance.

1.  April 2 MNRF Declaration of Restricted Fire Zone2.  April 7 Township Notice re. Closure of Holiday Cove Marina, Pointe au Baril Wharf and all Municipal Boat Launches/Access Points3.  April 8 Township Notice re. Building Permits and Planning Applications

These and other important notices regarding COVID-19 and its relevance to the Township, ratepayers and others may be found at

COVID-19 is and will impact each of us – resident, cottager, occasional visitor, local business – in various ways.  Perhaps keep in mind that we’re united by our love for the Bay.  We’re all in the same boat, so let’s pull together.

John McMullen, President, BNIA

Photo of - Township issues warning for Pointe au Baril public tap

Township issues warning for Pointe au Baril public tap

The Township of the Archipelago issued a stern warning for users of the public water tap at the Pointe au Baril Community Centre today, March 26. Hours of access to the tap will be restricted as follows, due to the Covid-19 pandemic: Monday to Friday, noon to 4 pm only. As well, the Township urged residents who use the water supply to “be diligent and use the hand sanitizer provided prior to and after using the tap.” Finally, the Township warned that they may not be able to guarantee clean water at the public tap in the near future, due to the health crisis. They advised: “It is imperative that residents find alternative arrangements for water as soon as possible.”

Photo of - Guardians of the Bay

Guardians of the Bay

The “Guardians of the Bay” (GOTB) is a GBA initiative designed to instill a mindset of protection and preservation of the Bay amongst all who enjoy this jewel. What does being a Guardian of the Bay mean?

you have a deep appreciation and respect for Georgian Bay and recognize that it is a special and fragile placeyou understand human actions, attitudes and decisions have a significant effect on the state of the Georgian Bay ecosystem (water, wildlife, land, nature, air) in the futureyou care enough about Georgian Bay to judge and base your actions, decisions and behaviors, in favour of long-term health and sustainability of the Georgian Bay ecosystem Who can be a Guardian of the Bay? Anyone! It doesn’t matter how old you are, why Georgian Bay is important to you, or how big or small your story is – GBA wants to hear from you!To learn more, go here.

Photo of - Do you have an Outings idea?

Do you have an Outings idea?

Every summer, the BNIA arranges excellent outings and events, enjoyed by young and old alike. If you have any ideas or suggestions, or if you’d like to volunteer to help, please get in touch with our programmer Molly Mulloy here. Stay tuned for further information in the spring newsletter and check our web site as summer approaches. 

Photo of - Water Levels: stop the rise!

Water Levels: stop the rise!

It only seems like yesterday that the common cry was “stop the drop”. Now it should more appropriately be “stop the rise”. The new reality is that water levels this year will be as high, perhaps even higher than 2019. There is little if anything that can be done within the Middle Great Lakes about levels per se; “adaptation” becomes the operative word. Increased water levels affect navigation, marinas, docks and more. Speaking of docks, specifically old docks with foam flotation, see Georgian Bay Forever’s Fall newsletter here for an interesting but worrisome article on the adverse effects of foam when, as is inevitable, it breaks down. 

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