Residents raising concerns over unsafe conditions at Wilkins Beach
Residents living in the Wilkins Beach area of Barrie are frustrated, and city workers were again forced to clean up the mess on Monday after another busy weekend.
Concerns in the area are going beyond overcrowding as people in the area say there were diapers and beer cans on the ground.
"We've had to step over human feces, so it's not really a safe place to bring your kids right now," says Barrie resident Rosa Bitonti.
The beach is without a washroom or public parking. Residents say it's used mostly by people from the GTA with their cars illegally parked on residential streets, which were packed again this weekend.
"It's a street hazard to have people parking everywhere and not have it enforced," says Barrie resident Kathryn Bennett.
Andrea Miller, General Manager of Infrastructure and Growth Management with the City of Barrie, acknowledges that there is a problem; as more visitors travel north to Barrie during the pandemic.
"We're seeing overcrowding," says Miller.
"We're having parking concerns, garbage concerns, some people not obeying the rules."
The city is trying to educate beachgoers by stepping up enforcement and placing more signage starting Tuesday.
Wilkins Beach is officially a city-run public beach but doesn't have public parking or washrooms, and because of that, some beachgoers were seen relieving themselves in the woods.
"We don't have plans to put porta-potties there," says Andrea Miller.
"That is only going to increase participation at that particular beach, which simply can not accommodate it."
Residents say they've either been threatened or have argued with people over drinking, vaping, parking and trashing the beach area.
"And just not even casual respect; there's a garbage bin over there, and they leave it on the ground everywhere," says Bennett.
While the city continues to work on solutions to keep everyone happy, residents call for more significant parking restrictions, including making many streets tow-away zones.