‘Trouble makers ruining it for everyone’
The end of the school year combined with hot days and warm nights mean people - including teenagers - are heading in droves to local parks and beaches. And while Hudson’s Sandy Beach Nature Park is a big draw, the Town says everyone must clear out by the posted 9 p.m. closing time.
Hudson’s Sandy Beach closes each night at 9 p.m. Anyone caught there after faces a fine. (Kristina Edson)
But that’s not always the case, according to Hudson Community Patrol supervisor Dave Legault, who says more than a dozen tickets have been issued so far this year for such things as loitering and starting open air fires.
Tickets cost offenders $200 and $300 respectively, plus court fees.
Legault says the Town has tried to give “the good kids” a break in past years but “trouble makers ruin it for everyone.”
According to Mayor Michael Elliott, though it doesn’t always do so, the Town finally asked the community patrol to enforce the 9 p.m. curfew after receiving numerous complaints from residents living near the beach.
“We’re hearing about parties, speeding to and from the beach, fires, that sort of thing,” Elliott said of the park that is situated along waterfront property on the Ottawa River and which runs from the newly created Jack Layton Park to Sandy Beach via a nature trail network.
And while the Town has always had a curfew, they don’t usually implement it “until things get rough,” Elliott said.
That’s what happened a few weeks ago when a beach bonfire got out of control, reaching heights of more than 8 feet.
Fires, which are prohibited at all times at all public parks, especially pose a danger at Sandy Beach because of the forested areas surrounding the beach.
Last year, the community patrol issued more than 20 tickets at the park.
No harmonized by-law
Since the 9 p.m. curfew is not part of the region’s harmonized by-law which states all public domains and parks in the region must close at 11 p.m. (a harmonized by-law is one that’s been adopted by all 23 Vaudreuil-Soulanges municipalities) Hudson’s community patrol are the only ones issuing tickets before 11 p.m.
Hudson has given the same opening and closing hours - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. - to Jack Layton Park.
Legault says three full-time and up to seven part-time officers patrol 22 hours a day, while a dedicated bike unit additionally covers Sandy Beach.
“We’ll be the first ones to deal with people breaking the curfew, but if they don’t cooperate with us they’ll end up cooperating with the police, who will back us up if needed,” Legault said.
And police will also come in anytime after 11 p.m.
In the end, though, the Town wants everyone to enjoy the park and beach while being considerate of other beach goers, or people living nearby.
“We’ve all been young, we can be cool... The kids can go swimming, play beach volleyball, have a picnic, just do it respectfully and don’t cause a disturbance,” Elliott advised.