Burlington says 1,000 people gathered at a park last weekend. It doesn't want that to happen again
Access to Beachway Park and adjacent parking will be closed at 8 p.m. ET this Saturday
Burlington is upping the number of police and bylaw officers patrolling beaches and parks following a gathering of roughly 1,000 people shooting off fireworks.
A joint statement from Mayor Marianne Meed Ward on behalf of the Ontario city, fire department, and Halton police says they believe a similar event is being organized for this coming weekend.
About 1,000 youth gathered at Beachway Park and surrounding parking lots on the night of June 5, according to the statement.
"Many" local residents called police with concerns about the illegal gathering, and use of fireworks and alcohol, it adds.
While the posted park closing time is 11 p.m., the city said the gathering was still going after hours.
A moving crowd
Halton police Const. Steve Elms said several fires were found along the beach area at dusk, and firefighters put them out.
Police were able to disperse a crowd of 800 to 1,000, he said. However, a smaller group moved to the parking lot area and then Spencer Smith Park, where officers had to send them home once again.
There were no injuries to police and no tickets were issued, he said.
Illegal parties and fireworks in our parks are not permitted. Please use our valued outdoor spaces responsibly. <br><br>Please see a joint statement from my office, the City of Burlington, Halton Regional Police Service and Burlington Fire Department: <a href="https://t.co/J7fztk3E7b">https://t.co/J7fztk3E7b</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BurlON?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BurlON</a> <a href="https://t.co/JrgXDpEWGD">pic.twitter.com/JrgXDpEWGD</a>—@MariannMeedWard
As of Friday, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted in Ontario as the province moves into the first phase of its reopening plan.
"Please use our parks as intended, safely and responsibly, so that everyone can continue to enjoy this valued outdoor space in these challenging times," the statement said.
Beach closing early
The city has decided to close access to Beachway Park and adjacent parking lots at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Staff will also be limiting vehicle and pedestrian access on that area of Lakeshore Road.
There will be increased presence of police, bylaw officers and fire department employees throughout all the parks over the weekend to monitor activity, it said.