The dispute over a Provincial Fine in Turkey Point continues.
After meeting with Haldimand Norfolk M-P-P Toby Barrett late last week, Tony and Cathy Suprun sent myFM a full statement regarding the incident where they claim Cathy was charged after raking a public beach to clear away dead and broken branches that had fallen from the trees following a storm.
In her statement, she spoke about the difficulty in Turkey Point and specifically targeted Park Superintendent Jeff Pickersgill.
Toby Barrett spoke with myFM about the situation, noting the Supruns are not alone in expressing their concerns.
Barrett believes more information and discussion is needed before any steps are made.
In the meantime, he is asking the public to contact him and Turkey Point Park staff with any concerns so they can try to find a middle ground solution.
Pickersgill returns to work today following a vacation, we plan on reaching out to him to provide a comment.
The Supruns full statement has been posted below:
Cathy received the charge for raking a public,sand beach to clear away dead and broken branches that had fallen from the trees located on the dune and beach after one of several violent storms that hit our area in the spring. The fallen branches, limbs and twigs created an unsafe and unsightly condition on the beach. We have raked and cleaned the beach for over three decades now. The debris creates trip hazards, puncture spikes to the skin and a messy and unattractive public beach. Cathy was ordered to follow Jeff Pickersgill and Kyle Warboys down the beach to the parking lot approximately 100 yards away. No warning was given. The ticket was issued.
The issue is much bigger than the charge that Cathy received for raking the beach ..
This is a sandy Public Beach frequented by many families, from all over Ontario and the United States. Turkey Point is classified as a recreational class park and this area is designated as development zone under the Turkey Point master plan.
Visiting Turkey Point beach is a tradition for many families who want to visit our area to swim, relax, play, build sandcastles and just enjoy what has been one of the most immaculate vacation destinations found in southwestern Ontario.
The bigger issue is the attitude and bullying tactics of Park Superintendent Jeff Pickersgill which is also demonstrated by many of his staff.
His agenda is to close off a large portion of the public beach
to block the passage way of the public and cottagers by fencing or roping off accesses located behind cottages that have existed for generations.
He and several of his staff exhibit a culture of disrespect, intimidation, threatening, and bullying.
Mr. Pickersgill’s stated intentions are to rope off the beach in order to block passage of anyone, including the general public and cottage owners, from entering the beach from anywhere but, at the designated gravel parking lots and the water filled accesses on Ordnance Drive.
He talks about the removal of fire pits, which are used by families as a tradition, as they gather around the evening campfire with friends and family .
He threatens to remove bird houses, flag poles, anything on his crown land, playground equipment, small boats like catamarans, kayaks, canoes, sailboats, volleyball nets, horseshoe pits etc. which are all indicative of the recreational use of Turkey Point and it’s beaches. All of these recreational uses are encouraged in the master plan for Turkey Point.
The big picture is that with his agenda we will lose one of the pristine, recreational, tourist beaches, in southwestern Ontario.
This beach is not swampland, not a protected ecological area. It is designated in the Turkey Point master plan as a recreational class park in a development zone to encourage tourism on our pristine beach in Turkey Point, which has been used by families for generations. It is tradition.
Turkey Point beach is for the people and the Ministry is obligated to protect the people that use the beach against such things as ticks and other disease bearing insects… Against invasive species such as poison ivy, ragweed, phragmites as examples. They are failing in this regard!
He has stated that Cottage owners have had it too good for too long and he intends to have the sand dunes and vegetation grow to the waters edge with only a small emergency ATV path at the waters edge.
The big picture is just complete disregard for what our beach has always been: a clean sandy oasis where families come and enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Ontario.
Mr. Pickersgill is unapproachable and unavailable either by phone or by person and turns it over to his staff to make excuses as to his whereabouts.
Toby Barrett and his executive administrator, Bobbi Ann Brady visited the Turkey Point beach on Thursday, August 23, for a firsthand look . They spoke with numerous cottage owners and beach goers including ourselves.
Any comments regarding Toby’s visit should come from Toby’s office through either his executive administrator Bobbi Ann Brady or Toby himself.
As of today , over 1500 people have signed the petition in support of Toby helping us to help him, save what has for generations been a pristine Turkey Point beach for the people, not for ticks and invasive plant species.
In the master plan for Turkey Point beach it states “Turkey Point Provincial Park is classified as a recreation class park because it supports a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities for large numbers of people in attractive settings.” Turkey Point beach is a recreational park. The beach area in question is not a wetland, it is meant for people.
Sign the petition if you’re concerned about losing your access to much of Turkey Point beach. This beach is about people, tax paying people using what is rightfully theirs and which has always been their beach, for the people of Ontario . It is not about saving it for the ticks, mosquitoes, invasive grasses and dunes to the waters edge. If you care, sign the petition.
Unfortunately Jeff Pickersgill has threatened to put a road behind the cottages, as well as increase the size of parking lots at Jenny Wren Lane and Tyler St which will be directly behind cottages . One of us man one must wonder if he would be “in violation of disturbing a natural object”. Such a contradiction!
In summary the big picture is: his bullying approach, his agenda, his timetable, his legislative authority to do what he is doing, and has he been directed to do this, or are these actions of Mr. Pickersgill himself.