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Niagara Falls
Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Editorial: Please close your lots, Niagara Parks

The flocks keep coming and it looks like there’s no way to stop them.

While the town continues its efforts to deter visitors to keep residents safe, it is important to remember there are many NOTL businesses – including garden centres, wineries, hardware suppliers, restaurants and others – offering curbside pickup or delivery services that are essential for visitors and residents alike.

Our wineries, restaurants, greenhouses, and more could use the support.

We encourage that.

But to clarify for any visitors reading: For now, this means come in, pick up what you need and then return home.

It doesn’t mean stay, take a stroll on the main street because “It’s my choice” or “It’s just me, I’m not hurting anyone” or “I need this for my mental health.”

What the 17,000-plus residents of NOTL need for their own mental health is to feel safe within their own communities.

Yes, “just you” is a problem if everyone thinks like “just you.”

When we say you’re welcome for essential trips, it doesn’t mean coming here to urinate and defecate on our lawns, parks or in our forests.

People use those forests. Just this week, a NOTL resident who hunts for mushrooms posted a disturbing picture online of someone’s defecation beside a tree, and said they’d seen many other instances of the same.

There’s no excuse for it — for the time being, our town is not open for strolling.

To our Niagara Parks Commission — please close your parking lots, which are overflowing every weekend. The Town of NOTL has closed its lots, while leaving trails accessible. Why does the parks commission refuse to do likewise?

This week you have said it’s a matter of public safety. That sounds like a public relations excuse to stay open. Many of your properties are in or close to Niagara-on-the-Lake — a town where 50 per cent of residents are over the age of 50. Is there no concern for the well-being of these people, who are already at higher risk from COVID-19? 

If there is, certainly the public health risk of thousands of vehicles of people coming into town should cause you to reconsider keeping those parking lots open.

There’s no excuse and citing public safety is just a guise.

People are still parking on the roads, people are not social distancing on trails, the parks police aren’t fining people for breaking emergency orders. And there will be fewer people placed in potentially dangerous situations if they have nowhere to park.

The parks commission is potentially hurting people in our community by continuing to allow the behaviour that’s been witnessed.

To the Town of NOTL and Lord Mayor Betty Disero — keep it up. You’re stepping above and beyond what the province has asked, in the name of keeping people safe. That’s commendable and most residents appreciate your attempt to balance safety with accessibility to essential businesses.


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