Following the re-emergence of large street parties in the University District, the City of Kingston has issued an emergency order to close the nearby pier. The city hopes by doing so, it will curb large gatherings as COVID-19 cases ramp up across the province.
The Gord Edgar Downie Pier was closed twice last year due to large gatherings of mostly young people at the beach, which is popular with nearby Queen’s students.
The return of students for the fall semester has meant the return of large street parties, including one that took place Thursday morning, which police estimate had 2,000 people in attendance.
“The pandemic is not yet behind us,” said Mayor Bryan Paterson.
“This measure is being taken to safeguard our community, on the recommendation of both KFL&A Public Health and Kingston Police. We know that the pier and beach area in Breakwater Park are extremely popular, and over the last few days we have seen large crowds that far exceed the current provincial limits on outdoor gatherings.”
The emergency order will close the park officially for 18 days as of 4 p.m. Thursday.
Fencing that was taken down in June will be put back up close access to the pier and beach area at Breakwater Park.
Anyone caught using the area will be subject to a $2,000 fine.
The city says bylaw enforcement and Kingston police will also be closely monitoring other parks in and around the University District for large gatherings.