Coronavirus: Port Hope begins to reopen some municipal amenities

Downtown Port Hope. Global Newsfile

The Municipality of Port Hope is starting to reopen a few municipal amenities as part of the province’s reopening framework, with the gradual lifting of coronavirus pandemic safety restrictions.

On Tuesday, the Baulch Road dog park, recreation fields, including soccer pitches and baseball diamonds (for non-team sports) and picnic areas opened for use, with COVID-19 protocols.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: What you can and cannot do in Ontario amid Stage 1 of reopening

“Our ability to open and our willingness to open is really paramount that we know we can do it and keep the health and safety of our citizens,” said Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson.

“It only takes one bad incidence to make all our work redundant.  We’re really pushing people hard to follow the rules of five people maximum, keep physical distancing regardless and if there is a group of people together, they’re from the same household.”

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Meanwhile, staff is seeking clarification from the province on reopening municipal tennis courts and the skate park.

It wants to know what’s allowed, for example, can people play doubles for tennis or are they only allowed to play singles?

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Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario announces Stage 1 reopening to begin Tuesday – May 14, 2020

The resumption of these services also allows the municipality to hire summer students, something it had to put off until now due to the pandemic. A limited number of students will work off-peak hours to ensure physical distancing measures are observed.

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The Port Hope Public Library is delaying an immediate launch of curbside service until processes and measures have been developed fully.

Construction work on the Kinsmen Gazebo, splash pad and Cenotpah Revitalization Project are also now underway.

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“You may think because town hall isn’t open and facilities aren’t open, that things may not be happening — there’s a lot being done,” added Sanderson.  “Even from a financial perspective, we’re managing it really well.  I don’t anticipate any overruns or delays in timing.”

Meanwhile, to the east in Cobourg, the farmers’ market will reopen on Saturday but with a curbside pickup and e-commerce model.

“It will move to the Albert Street lot. The look will be different and how it operates will be different,” said Cobourg Mayor John Henderson.

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The Town of Cobourg is not opening the Victoria Park Campground trailer park at this time. It’s being used as a respite site for first responders and health-care workers.

“The province is starting to open yearly and seasonal campgrounds, but it doesn’t meet what we would deem to be recreational,” added Henderson. “So at this point, it remains closed.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario outlines what can restart for Stage 1 of reopening province beginning Tuesday

Henderson added when the province moves to phase two of its reopening plan, the town may need to look at its trailer park differently at that time.

The Cobourg Marina remains closed as staff prepares for its eventual reopening, which includes figuring out how to distance boats from each other, bringing in a system for electronic payment, and proper training for staff.

“We’re hoping June 6 as potentially a date to work with the Cobourg Yacht Club and the boaters to ensure the boats get into the water,” said Henderson.  “At the same time, council just verified a project close to a quarter-million dollars to upgrade the marina docks by July 3.”

“We’re trying to upgrade the docks from past flooding and bring it to a new level and at the same time we’re trying to prepare boats under the new restrictions put out by the premier.  I want to emphasize sometimes the premier puts out an announcement one day and the population expects it by the end of the week to happen.  But from a municipal standpoint, even in good times, it takes us three weeks to prepare the marina.”

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Cobourg council will revisit the idea of potentially putting up fencing on the beach to close sections on June 1.

Right now, the beach remains open to walk-through traffic.

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