OK… So there are some things that just don’t make “common sense”. And one of those things is handing out trespassing tickets to generally law-abiding folks enjoying a recreational area in the perfect weather for it just because it is closed. Being closed or open being a decision that is based on the calendar and costs, not based on the weather. And the difference between closed and open being the collection of a parking fee.
Let me start at the beginning.
There is a conservation organization in the general area of where I live called the Grand River Conservation Authority. They manage a series of disconnected conservation areas designed to protect and highlight aspects of the topography that follow the Grand river along its meandering path. The conservation areas all have their own season opening and closing dates — based presumably on some statistical analysis of visitor-ship, usage and weather.
One of those areas is the Elora Quarry. It is, aptly named, near Elora. And it is an old quarry. Since its use as a quarry ceased, the old pit area has filled with water and it makes an amazing swimming hole. There is a sand beach in one area. And some short cliffs from which people are permitted to leap. And some higher cliffs for which you will be ejected from the park should you leap!
There is NO lifeguard on duty. Never. Not in season. And clearly not when the park is closed.
I’m not exactly sure when the Elora Quarry is going to officially open this year (I presume near the end of the school year). But I do know yesterday it was packed! Probably as busy, if not busier, than I’ve seen it mid-summer. That is, until the police arrived.
Yep, about an hour after I arrived there with 4 kids in tow, the police arrived and started to collect ID from all the bathers and sun worshipers alike. They went from group to group asking for ID and then, instead of writing up a ticket immediately collecting more ID from the next group. When the police officer got to me (the kids were happily swimming at the time) I told them my ID was in the car. The officer asked me to stick around while he continued his rounds of ID collection.
Well, as the officers leisurely sat down at the picnic table to begin the lengthy process of writing up trespassing tickets, the kids and I packed up and walked off to the car. Clearly not following the officer’s instructions… but also evading a trespassing ticket that seems ridiculous to the extreme in the process.
In the end, as a “business person” I can understand the conservation authority’s desire to avoid some semblance of liability should someone hurt themselves while the park is closed. But even when open it’s not staffed with lifeguards.
And I can also understand that the police have to enforce the rules – despite the lack of common sense. But hey don;t have to do so in a way that maximizes the number of tickets issued. Come down to the beach, announce that everyone is trespassing and must leave, and pick an unruly group of folks that are drinking in public or being a nuisance to issue a ticket to while everyone clears out quickly to avoid them!
So the kids and I talked about the situation on the way home. I’m not sure this is a great lesson to be teaching them… to “thwart” authority… But sometimes common sense is a better metric against which one’s actions should be measured.