June 11, 2020
Township of Billings Municipal Emergency Control Group Updates
The Township of Billings Municipal Emergency Control Group (MECG) continues to monitor the local COVID-19 situation and assess the reopening of various municipal facilities and amenities in the context of provincial emergency Orders, public health guidelines and the staged approach to relaxing restrictions.
Today, the MECG can provide the following updates:
Bridal Veil Falls and Kagawong River Trails
Bridal Veil Falls and the stairs to access them remain closed in accordance with the “A Framework for Reopening our Province: Stage 2” plan which states that “[r]ecreational activities or areas that do not allow for two-metre physical distancing between patrons are not permitted.” Ensuring physical distancing between visitors, limiting the number of visitors at the site at any given time, and collecting information for contact tracing purposes, as recommended by the province, is not possible at Bridal Veil Falls at this time.
The viewing platform above Bridal Veil Falls, accessed via the MTO parking lot on Highway 540, will be open as of Friday, June 12, 2020. The municipal parking lot south of this location will also be open at that time. Physical distancing must be maintained between persons not of the same household and masks must be worn while using the viewing platform.
The Kagawong River trail will be partially opened as of Friday, June 12, 2020. The trail will be open and marked in a one-way direction, beginning at the trail head located off of Old Mill Road at the western side of the mouth of the Kagawong River. The trail will be opened to the power generating station and bridge; trail users may access the bridge for viewing purposes and must exit the trail system at this location, coming off of the trail at the Park Centre and returning to the trail head via Henry Drive. The trails further south of the power generating station and on the eastern side of the river remain closed. Physical distancing must be maintained between persons not of the same household and masks must be worn while using the trail if physically distancing is challenging.
The public washroom facilities at the Old Mill Heritage Centre remain closed. They will be opened as soon as possible, once necessary supplies and protocols are in place.
The Kagawong Town Beach and Sandy Beach are now open. Physical distancing must be maintained between persons not of the same household while visiting the beach. The playground remains closed.
Kagawong tennis/basketball courts
The tennis/basketball court located in lower Kagawong will be open as of Friday, June 12, 2020 in a use-at-own-risk capacity. This facility must be used in accordance with current provincial emergency Orders and guidelines (e.g., physical distancing must be maintained between persons not of the same household).
Old Mill Heritage Centre Museum
The Old Mill Heritage Centre will open on July 1, 2020 and will be open weekly, Wednesday through Sunday, inclusive. The Committee that oversees the museum is establishing protocols to manage visitor flow, physical distancing and cleaning/hygiene in accordance with provincial guidelines.
Beginning on June 23, 2020, the Kagawong Landfill will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., providing another 4 hours of service each week for the summer. These hours will continue to be monitored and adjusted as necessary.
A.H. Hunt Marina
The A.H. Hunt marina is open and gasoline is available. There are no overnight slips available for transient boaters.
State of Emergency
The province has extended their state of emergency until the end of June. The declared state of emergency within the township remains in place at this time.
We will be monitoring the use of these newly-opened areas closely and we are prepared to close again any area where compliance is an issue. The MECG appreciates everyone’s patience and cooperation throughout this difficult time. Restricting access to our public spaces has taken a toll on everyone – emotionally, physically, and financially – and we are not insensitive to this reality. These decisions have been and continue to be based on the best available information and are made with the safety and well-being of our residents as the first priority.
Lastly, we want to highlight the dedication and extraordinary work of our local volunteers. Each week they assist with the distribution of surplus goods from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Program and Noojmowin Teg, bringing a little bit of physically-distanced human connection and much-needed cheer to our community. We will have more to share on our volunteers’ work in the near future. There are also countless people we don’t know about helping their neighbours in various ways. We cannot thank any of you enough for stepping up to serve our community during this crisis.
Mayor Ian Anderson