Due to cuts to the Ontario government’s budget that had a significant impact on Ontario parks, 10 parks were to be closed and 130 fulltime and seasonal positions cut.
As many of you found out (perhaps the hard way) this impacted the windsurfing and kitesurfing community with access restricted to both Sandbanks beach as well as Outlet beach in the form of a locked gate as of Oct 8th last year - right about the time the best of the world class windy season started at Sandbanks.
The short of it - we managed to convince the park to install a secondary gate that will allow us access to the beach until December but we need your help raising funds to support the costs.
We need the support of the wind community and ask that you please donate what you can to help with this initiative!
Full story and progress to Date
A small number of windsurfers and kitesurfers took on the task of gathering feedback from the windsurfing and kitesurfing communities, drafting proposals and contacting and working with the park to see what could be done. Thanks to efforts of this group (and in particular to Ilan Artzy from Montreal who met several times with the Friends of Sandbanks (http://friendsofsandbanks.
org/site/home/) as well as the Superintendant and assistant superintendant of the park!) there are improvements to access that are being implemented:
The park has agreed to make changes to the park that will benefit the windsurfing and kitesurfing community:
- A new gate has now been installed (see picture below) to allow windsurfers/kitesurfers to access Outlet beach after the official closing of the park (Thanksgiving). The gate will remain open until December.
- The walking path to Sandbanks beach has already been enlarged and improved in order to provide better off-season access (after Thanksgiving)
- The gate to Sandbanks beach, which was closed in early September last year, will now be opened until Thanksgiving
As well, we are currently discussing with the Parc the possibility of improving and enlarging the walking path near the new gate.
How you can help
Of course there is a cost to implementing these changes for the benefit of our communities and with a fixed budget and ever-increasing costs the park can only afford to make a certain amount of improvements. The park is picking up the tab for the improved access path to Sandbanks beach and the Friends of Sandbanks has agreed to provide the up-front funds with the understanding that we would launch a fundraising campaign to raise money to support the park that many of us visit for an amazing session on the water as often as possible.
Here’s where your support is essential. We’re asking the windsurfing and kitesurfing community to donate to this cause to both help fund the cost of changes that are being implemented for our benefit as well as show our support for the Friends of Sandbanks, that without their support for our proposals as well as up-front funding, we might not have been able to get approval for a new gate.
For your convenience, a Paypal account has been set up to gather donations from the community, which will be provided directly to the Friends of Sandbanks. Our target is to raise $5000 for Friends of Sandbanks. While there is no time limit on donations, please try and make your donation within the next three weeks so that the donations can be provided to Friends of Sandbanks as soon as possible :
If you prefer to make your donation directly to the Friends of Sandbanks, you can mail in a cheque to the address below. PLEASE – make note on the cheque that you are a windsurfer/kitesurfer submitting a donation to help with access improvements to the park so that Friends of Sandbanks will know how much the communities have donated. I’m sure they will also let the park know.
Friends of Sandbanks
PO Box 22007, 97 Main St
Picton, ON K0K 0A0