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Jackson Park boat launch opening Friday ... for small boats only

'We do also warn people that the conditions can change within hours — one big windstorm or wind event could fill the ramp back in,' warns township official
(stock photo)

Despite the best efforts of mankind, nature has once again ruled supreme ... this time at Jackson Park in Tiny Township.

The boat launch for D’Aoust Bay at Marina Road near Concession 8 West is set to open Friday, but municipal staff are cautioning the public to not bring any large watercraft. 

“We worked at the start of the week to dredge out as much as we could, within our water lot and as far as we could get,” said public works director Tim Leitch at a recent regular meeting of council.

Seasonal sand deposits resulting from a mild winter without much shore ice was responsible for the late start to the launch opening, while Tiny staff also managed to obtain machinery able to perform the dredging operation.

“Unfortunately, it did present a challenge further than we could reach, and further than we can dredge at this time of year because of the fish habitat,” said Leitch.

Leitch described a shallow area in the dredged area of roughly 16-to-18 inches in depth, but revminded the public that the ramp wasn’t intended for large or heavy boats, instead focusing on small boats and personal watercraft that may have to lift their engines up to reach deeper waters. 

“We’re going to open it up and see what happens over time. We do also warn people that the conditions can change within hours — one big windstorm or wind event could fill the ramp back in.”

Mayor Dave Evans sympathized with staff’s efforts, equating the frustrating situation to a child making a hole on the beach only to have it fill up with an incoming wave.

“It’s very difficult for the municipality – we do not control the waterway or what goes on in the water,” added Evans who stated that a more permanent solution would require “something that’s far beyond our present means of financing right now.” 

The municipality has included signs of ‘use at own risk’ with the opening, as staff cautioned: “the township will not be held responsible for damage to boats due to the conditions that we currently have.” 

Launches in neighbouring towns Penetanguishene and Midland were recommended by Tiny staff for getting larger boats into the waters of Georgian Bay.

One additional announcement from Leitch was made about speed limit reductions in the beach areas.

“The speed limit on the west shore… is 10 kilometres per hour within 300 metres of the shoreline, so we want to remind people of that; it’s for the safety of the swimmers and the beach users,” said Leitch.

“The area down in Jackson Park is a mixed-use area; we do have a public beach there, and so we ask people to be cognizant of swimmers and children playing in that area.”

As stated in the frequently asked questions of the Tiny Township web page for public beaches, timing to open municipal ramps varies on weather with a target of the May 24 long weekend, and closures on the Thanksgiving weekend in October.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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