Wilson Continues Fight to Regain Access to Shale Beach
(December 4, 2013) Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson is again asking the Minister of Transportation to reassess his original decision to close down Shale Beach. Today, Wilson penned an open letter to the Minister demanding the Ministry work quickly to reopen this popular beach area. Wilson’s office has been inundated with calls, letters and emails from concerned constituents since the closure.
“I am writing to you again to express my concern with your government’s decision to arbitrarily and without consultation close vehicle access to Shale Beach in the Town of the Blue Mountains,” wrote Wilson. “As I previously made you aware, there are many ways to stop a small and unruly segment of the population from using this beach inappropriately. Closing it down is not the answer and is a bad precedent to set.”
Wilson wrote the letter in response to correspondence from the Minister that indicates the closure was due to inappropriate use of the space and a lack of Ministry of Transportation resources to supervise and enforce appropriate use. The Minister’s letter also explains that MTO will not look at options to reopen the beach until the environmental assessment phase of road work being done on Highway 26 between Thornbury and Collingwood. Construction is projected to be complete by 2016.
“Why should the public have to wait until 2016, as your government projects, before the ministry will investigate strategies and options to access a beach that their tax dollars pay for?” wrote Wilson. “It’s absurd and I see no valid reason for the delay.”
“In addition, you indicate that the MTO is ‘not equipped to supervise or enforce safe and appropriate use of the beach.’ I also find this confusing. Craigleith Provincial Park, a campground, neighbours this beach area. In fact, it is where you suggest people pay $12 to park. They would be a great resource to ensure appropriate use of the space.”
“Minister, people have been using this beach for generations without incident. It’s only fair that they be able to continue to do so without having to pay fees for parking or anything else.”
Wilson concluded by urging the Minister to reassess the situation and respond with a plan to reopen the beach by spring 2014. Until then, the public can access the beach through Craigleith Provincial Park.
To read the letter click here