Hamilton beaches hit capacities during hot stretch

News Jul 09, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s beaches are enjoying an unprecedented hot streak to match the weather, having already reached capacity seven times in the first week of July.

Gord Costie, director of conservation area services, said “extreme visitation” forced the authority to turn away people at Valens Lake, Fifty Point and Christie Lake after they hit their limits.

“We’ve never had this happen to us. This is new to us, too. In my entire career here, starting at Valens in ’88, we’ve never closed the gates for day use,” Costie said.

“Our weekdays feel like weekends, and then our weekends feel more like long weekends,” he said. “People are just trying to get relief (from) the heat wave, COVID-19. People aren’t maybe even at work as much they used to be.”

All three parks reached capacity on the July 1 Canada Day holiday, with Valens and Fifty Point also hitting their limits on July 4, when an extended heat warning for Hamilton began. Christie and Valens were also full on July 5.

Costie said Confederation Beach Park hasn’t had to close its gates because of ample parking spaces due to the COVID-19-related closures of Wild Waterworks and areas for ball hockey and beach volleyball.

Park capacities haven’t been reduced during the pandemic, but some services, like boat rentals, have been put on hold, he said, and signs warn visitors to maintain physical distancing.

Costie said most people are heeding the rules, although city bylaw officers have been called “a number of times.”

“People have been quite good dealing with this and keeping apart,” he said.

Costie said the surging demand at park beaches comes as the authority is ready to reopen Lakeland Pool at Confederation Beach Park as early as July 11, although capacity will be cut to about 25 per cent, or about 30 to 40 people, to allow for physical distancing.

Wild Waterworks will remain closed, as the wave pool makes it nearly impossible for swimmers to keep apart, he said.

Conservation areas with waterfalls are also set to reopen on July 15, including popular draws like Tiffany Falls in Ancaster and the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek.

The lone exception is the Spencer Gorge, where access to Webster’s Falls, Tew Falls and the Dundas Peak will remain closed.

Costie said the authority will launch a pilot program there in September, requiring people to reserve a parking spot, with a total vehicle capacity of 100 at any one time.

Slated to run daily until Nov. 15, the reservation system replaces the buses that have shuttled visitors from Christie Lake on weekends and holidays for the past two years, part of efforts to reduce traffic and parking congestion by the gorge.

Costie said COVID-19-related restrictions make the shuttle service unworkable, and the reservation system will help limit access by barring walk-ins.

Hamilton beaches hit capacities during hot stretch

Conservation areas closed seven times in first week of July

News Jul 09, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s beaches are enjoying an unprecedented hot streak to match the weather, having already reached capacity seven times in the first week of July.

Gord Costie, director of conservation area services, said “extreme visitation” forced the authority to turn away people at Valens Lake, Fifty Point and Christie Lake after they hit their limits.

“We’ve never had this happen to us. This is new to us, too. In my entire career here, starting at Valens in ’88, we’ve never closed the gates for day use,” Costie said.

“Our weekdays feel like weekends, and then our weekends feel more like long weekends,” he said. “People are just trying to get relief (from) the heat wave, COVID-19. People aren’t maybe even at work as much they used to be.”

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All three parks reached capacity on the July 1 Canada Day holiday, with Valens and Fifty Point also hitting their limits on July 4, when an extended heat warning for Hamilton began. Christie and Valens were also full on July 5.

Costie said Confederation Beach Park hasn’t had to close its gates because of ample parking spaces due to the COVID-19-related closures of Wild Waterworks and areas for ball hockey and beach volleyball.

Park capacities haven’t been reduced during the pandemic, but some services, like boat rentals, have been put on hold, he said, and signs warn visitors to maintain physical distancing.

Costie said most people are heeding the rules, although city bylaw officers have been called “a number of times.”

“People have been quite good dealing with this and keeping apart,” he said.

Costie said the surging demand at park beaches comes as the authority is ready to reopen Lakeland Pool at Confederation Beach Park as early as July 11, although capacity will be cut to about 25 per cent, or about 30 to 40 people, to allow for physical distancing.

Wild Waterworks will remain closed, as the wave pool makes it nearly impossible for swimmers to keep apart, he said.

Conservation areas with waterfalls are also set to reopen on July 15, including popular draws like Tiffany Falls in Ancaster and the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek.

The lone exception is the Spencer Gorge, where access to Webster’s Falls, Tew Falls and the Dundas Peak will remain closed.

Costie said the authority will launch a pilot program there in September, requiring people to reserve a parking spot, with a total vehicle capacity of 100 at any one time.

Slated to run daily until Nov. 15, the reservation system replaces the buses that have shuttled visitors from Christie Lake on weekends and holidays for the past two years, part of efforts to reduce traffic and parking congestion by the gorge.

Costie said COVID-19-related restrictions make the shuttle service unworkable, and the reservation system will help limit access by barring walk-ins.

Hamilton beaches hit capacities during hot stretch

Conservation areas closed seven times in first week of July

News Jul 09, 2020 by Richard Leitner hamiltonnews.com

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s beaches are enjoying an unprecedented hot streak to match the weather, having already reached capacity seven times in the first week of July.

Gord Costie, director of conservation area services, said “extreme visitation” forced the authority to turn away people at Valens Lake, Fifty Point and Christie Lake after they hit their limits.

“We’ve never had this happen to us. This is new to us, too. In my entire career here, starting at Valens in ’88, we’ve never closed the gates for day use,” Costie said.

“Our weekdays feel like weekends, and then our weekends feel more like long weekends,” he said. “People are just trying to get relief (from) the heat wave, COVID-19. People aren’t maybe even at work as much they used to be.”

Related Content

All three parks reached capacity on the July 1 Canada Day holiday, with Valens and Fifty Point also hitting their limits on July 4, when an extended heat warning for Hamilton began. Christie and Valens were also full on July 5.

Costie said Confederation Beach Park hasn’t had to close its gates because of ample parking spaces due to the COVID-19-related closures of Wild Waterworks and areas for ball hockey and beach volleyball.

Park capacities haven’t been reduced during the pandemic, but some services, like boat rentals, have been put on hold, he said, and signs warn visitors to maintain physical distancing.

Costie said most people are heeding the rules, although city bylaw officers have been called “a number of times.”

“People have been quite good dealing with this and keeping apart,” he said.

Costie said the surging demand at park beaches comes as the authority is ready to reopen Lakeland Pool at Confederation Beach Park as early as July 11, although capacity will be cut to about 25 per cent, or about 30 to 40 people, to allow for physical distancing.

Wild Waterworks will remain closed, as the wave pool makes it nearly impossible for swimmers to keep apart, he said.

Conservation areas with waterfalls are also set to reopen on July 15, including popular draws like Tiffany Falls in Ancaster and the Devil’s Punchbowl in Stoney Creek.

The lone exception is the Spencer Gorge, where access to Webster’s Falls, Tew Falls and the Dundas Peak will remain closed.

Costie said the authority will launch a pilot program there in September, requiring people to reserve a parking spot, with a total vehicle capacity of 100 at any one time.

Slated to run daily until Nov. 15, the reservation system replaces the buses that have shuttled visitors from Christie Lake on weekends and holidays for the past two years, part of efforts to reduce traffic and parking congestion by the gorge.

Costie said COVID-19-related restrictions make the shuttle service unworkable, and the reservation system will help limit access by barring walk-ins.