The City of Port Colborne continues to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure it is serving the best interest of the city, which includes changes to Nickel Beach operations that will be implemented Friday, July 10, 2020. These changes are in an effort to serve Port Colborne residents and continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines while remaining an inclusive and welcoming community.
The influx of beachgoers due to COVID-19 and recent heatwave, in addition to concerns expressed by residents, has City staff working to find solutions to ensure public safety, while still providing visitors the opportunity to escape the heat and enjoy their summer on the shores of Lake Erie.
As of Friday, July 10, 2020, the following operational changes will be implemented at Nickel Beach:
Port Colborne residents
· Season passes will be available for Port Colborne residents only, valid Mondays - Thursdays, excluding Civic Holiday, Monday, Aug. 3, and Labour Day, Monday, Sept. 7, and can be purchased for $100+HST at the beach gates with proof of residency (drivers licence, property bill (hydro, phone, water, etc.). Note that season passes do not guarantee beach access. If season pass holders attend Nickel Beach Friday – Sunday they are still required to pay the resident fee.
· Early entry to Nickel Beach will be reserved for Port Colborne residents only Fridays - Sundays from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Beginning at 10:30 a.m. the gates will then open to Niagara residents and non-residents.
Arriving at Nickel Beach
· A new entry point will be established at the entrance of Lake Road.
· Lake Road will be made available for extra parking for walk-on beachgoers. Parking is free for Port Colborne residents and $10 for non-residents.
· Accessible Parking – This is available inside the front gates next to the playground area. Staff will direct those who require access.
· Staff have increased the number of garbage receptacles throughout Nickel Beach and along Lake Road for beachgoers use as they enjoy the beach and travel to and from the beach entrance.
· Beachgoers are reminded to be respectful of their environment and to use the garbage receptacles provided.
The City has requested additional support from Niagara Regional Police to help enforce physical distancing regulations, while City By-law staff will be increasing patrols in the Nickel Beach neighbourhood to enforce parking for beachgoers intending to walk to the beach.
If beach attendees do not comply with regulations outlined by staff and public health the City is prepared to proceed with reinstating the closure of Nickel Beach. We all have a responsibility to be both healthy and safe while we PORTicipate this summer.
Hours of operation
Monday – Thursday - 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday – Sunday (and holidays – Mon. Aug. 6, and Mon. Sept. 7) - 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Port Colborne residents only; 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. all resident and non-resident beachgoers.
Beachfront parking fees
Niagara residents, including Port Colborne residents who do not have a season pass, will be charged $15 per day, Monday – Friday, and $20 per day on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays.
The non-Niagara resident fee for beachfront parking is $50 per day, Monday - Sunday.
Cash will be accepted for all daily pass sales; however, beachgoers are encouraged to bring exact payment of fees to limit as much cash handling as possible.
Resident and non-resident beachgoers can walk on to Nickel Beach for free.
This seasonal fee structure may be subject to change beyond the 2020 operating season.
Daily beach capacity
There will be a limit for total capacity on the beach daily, in order to ensure the safety of all beachgoers. As natural factors, such as lake levels, affect the beachfront’s total usable space on a daily basis, staff will be monitoring beach use and overall spacing available to beachgoers. Therefore, it is likely that total capacity may vary. If/when Nickel Beach reaches beachfront parking capacity and/or walk-on capacity updates will be shared on the City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Like and follow for up-to-date information.
For those paying for beachfront parking, staff will be spacing cars from one another to ensure physical distancing is maintained and that there is always a usable beach footprint for both walk-on visitors and those visiting by water.
There is public access to washroom facilities and hand sanitation stations on the beachfront. Signage at the entrance of the washroom facility will outline reminders for physical distancing, proper handwashing/hand sanitizing, and one-person occupancy limits to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Beachgoers are to use public washrooms at their own risk, however, in accordance with public health guidelines, washrooms will be cleaned twice per day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
What you can bring to Nickel Beach
Personal hand sanitizer, towels, water toys, a cooler with snacks and non-alcoholic drinks, umbrellas for shade.
What to leave at home
Alcohol, cigarettes, cannabis, and vaping devices (all beaches in Niagara are smoke and vape free), dogs, and horses.
Under Provincial guidelines, the playground equipment at Nickel Beach will remain closed until further notice.
Beach water testing
Niagara Region conducts beach water testing, and results are posted online. Beach water testing information is also available through the beach hotline at 905-688-8248 ext. 7789 (or 1-888-505-6074). A reminder for attendees that the unsafe for swimming warning signs are no longer posted onsite at the beaches.
Niagara Region Public Health
Anyone taking advantage of Nickel Beach is to follow the best practices as outlined by Niagara Region Public Health to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. These include frequent washing/sanitization of hands, physical separation, and staying home if displaying symptoms or having been in contact with cases of the virus.
The City released its Parks and Recreation Master Plan in December of 2019 and within its recommendations have indicated a plan be created to help the City manage Nickel Beach. Staff is currently finalizing a Request for Proposal for this work. This plan will strengthen the City's various applications to funding sources for dollars to go towards needed infrastructure improvements, improved amenities, and a business plan for operations.
For more information about recreation and park amenities open and/or closed in Port Colborne amid COVID-19, visit www.portcolborne.ca/page/covid-19/RecreationandParks.
For more information about COVID-19 and City updates, visit www.portcolborne.ca/page/covid-19.