With Summer in full swing, many of us are making the most of our favourite watering holes to cool off on those uncomfortably hot and humid days. This of course has reminded us of the fact that, for a city with as much waterfront as Kingston, we have very poor access to places where we can safely dip a toe into Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River. Forget the rocky and slippery entries to the water at Richardson “Beach” or Lake Ontario Park, Kingstonians deserve a proper place to go swimming in the lake!
This year has been especially challenging for swimmers thanks to high water levels, which negatively impacted popular sunning and swimming destinations such as Wolfe Island’s Big Sandy Bay, and the County’s Sandbanks. Furthermore, untimely upgrades to Breakwater Park have resulted in the closure of one of Kingston’s most well used swimming destinations next to the King Street Water Treatment Plant. Sure, the end result will eventually get us a bit closer to the dream of having a safer place for a dip, but Kingstonians need more than a single pseudo-beach with zero options for parking.
Kingston’s beach conundrum got me thinking about the City’s recent solicitation of ideas to re-imagine the land currently dedicated to the struggling golf course at Belle Park. While I’m almost certain that this former landfill site would have been a cheaper option for the third crossing, I’m also certain that the space could be redeveloped to something so great, that it would change our habits of venturing to beaches and watering holes in neighbouring communities. So I ask, why not give the city a proper beach at Belle Park? With ample parking, a location that’s already on a bus route, and minutes away from the 401, downtown as well as a possible third crossing, it’s ideally situated as prime recreational real estate. But why stop with a simple beach, when we could have a properly segregated, judgement-free space for those looking to avoid tan lines altogether. It might seem far fetched, but:
Creating both a beach and a nude beach at Belle Park would realistically require significant cleaning up and rehabilitation of the land, and that comes at a cost. However, if we’re going to spend a sizeable chunk of tax payer dollars on an amazingly well-thought out bridge, we should also take the time to listen to decades of cries from local residents for better access to Kingston’s waterfront. And what better place to do it than at Belle Park?
Shed your inhibitions, and let us know whether or not you think Belle Park could be home to the beach we’ve all been waiting for. What about the notion of adding a clothing optional nude beach? Could Kingstonians deal with such a scandalous thing?
Photo credit to Mike Goad.