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Staff maintain recommendation to close problematic Belleville Street boat launch

UPDATE: Approved in an 11-3 vote.

Municipal staff are again recommending council approve the closure of a problematic Belleville Street boat launch for this summer and time for a more permanent option prior to the 2022 season.

Staff seek clear direction from council at Tuesday night’s meeting, before widely communicating the fate of the launch in its new Tourism Management plan.

Tuesday’s report notes the launch has been progressively problematic over the past several years, coming to a head in the summer of 2020 when staff had to diffuse frequent disagreements over parking between boaters and neighbouring properties. Ontario Provincial Police were frequently called to assist, and have provided a letter of support for the closure for this summer.

The report notes legal opinion confirms the launch does not have the type of easement on or across the adjoining property that would allow vehicles and trailers to drive in and loop around to the boat launch. As a consequence, in summer 2020, users backing their trailers to the launch were forced to disrupt traffic on Main Street Wellington, already a source of contention with residents and visitors alike.

The launch has no on-site parking and continued use of the auxilary parking lot at the community centre, the report states, would be complicated with the construction of the new Wellington water tower in that area. The site is also considered unsustainable in the future as approvals for subdivisions move forward, adding to local traffic.

Council is being asked to closed the launch for 2021 while staff continue to seek options for next summer. A gate system would be installed at the top of the ramp which would be accessed for emergencies.

“Council has already tasked the Community and Economic Development Commission (CEDC) with working toward a plan for the Wellington waterfront, looking at a horizon that is medium to long term,” the report adds.

While the public may respond negatively to the closure, the staff report states the health and safety of staff and public dictate the closure, and “there are alternative private and public options throughout the community.”

That is a touchy point for several councillors, especially Athol ward’s Jamie Forrester, who throughout the discussions has warned of the closure simply moving the problems to other boat launches.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Dennis Fox says:

    I understand the need for a solution – but to close the launch at this time is questionable – a year later? If this doesn’t tell our Council that their tourist marketing plan went off the rails years ago – what will? \It isn’t just the tourists who are deprived of this service – it is our entire community – and this is the best they can come up with – just before boating season?

  2. CountyProud says:

    Moving problems and traffic somewhere else does little to solve the existing problem.

  3. gilles says:

    Anyone who has used either of the two Wellington boat launches, or the Wellington Rotary Beach itself, consistently over the past decade, should have been able to predict this. There are carrying capacities for all of these amenities, and the breaking point was reached last summer. For obvious logistical reasons the Main Street boat launch must be closed. An alternative must be sought immediately, but opportunities have been lost with skyrocketing real estate prices and limited waterfront available for another Wellington launch site.

  4. Dennis Fox says:

    I believe that our Council is taking advantage of the public. during this pandemic period. They have made very important decisions on development, and now on the boat launch without very much opportunity for public input. Now I see too that they are preparing to make a $500K style change to the council chambers – without any public input. I would rather see this money used to find a boat launch solution or on road repairs.

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