Due to the recent lockdown and stay at home orders, the decision to close the county owned ramps were made. I know that this frustrates many people and with every other decision made throughout this pandemic, you can shoot holes through them and find very good rationale to argue for and against.
So why close the ramps? While it is true is that many local people here fish and enjoy the amenities of the ramps along the grand river and Lake Erie, so do many from other parts of the Province. In fact if you ask many of the residents of Port Maitland they can support the argument that the pier, ramp and park is a very public tourist destination. There are no amenities for these people and so garbage, feces and just about anything else lands on either public property or surrounding private property that obviously is upsetting for those homeowners.
There are privately run ramps that serve the public and offer the amenities needed to accept guests and locals. Access to both waterways is available at a marginal cost and it helps the local private marina or business.
In comparison to golf, while my opinions differ from the Province on many of the COVID rules, most golfers are actually local, and privately run golf clubs possess the staff to keep outdoor facilities cleaned for their patrons. Public ramps just simply do not.
Today we are experiencing the 3rd wave of this virus and while it may seem like it is not evident here in HN, we are not immune to the very real affects of the variants that are pushing the numbers to all time highs. I understand that we are all VIRUS fatigued and frankly had enough but for the health and welfare of the communities, the small sacrifice of closing public boat ramps is a small price to pay for a couple of weeks to flatten and/or to know that we have done everything possible to keep our hospitals free and clear to help our loved ones.
We are currently working with the county staff and those that run private boat ramps to ensure that our local fishing population has some options available to them and so they can enjoy their pastime and be able to fish.
Mayor Ken Hewitt