“They don't care if my business shuts down”: Ontario small biz owner speaks out against town council COVID rules

Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson has closed the Ganaraska riverbed, and small businesses are suffering.

Using the pandemic as an excuse, Port Hope Town Council has completely restricted access to the river, preventing locals and fishermen from enjoying the beauty of their natural surroundings.

I went to Port Hope to investigate the now closed Ganaraska River for myself. 

I found flimsy rope deterring residents from accessing a natural waterway – a beautiful scenic river that winds through town and a is place where children, parents, and grandparents can enjoy watching the fish migrate upstream.

Though restricted, some fishermen have been fishing anyway. By canoeing along the riverbed and setting up near shore, they don’t access through municipal land. They've got to find a loophole to be able to fish in their own waters.

But the river closure are hurting the local small businesses most of all.

In this video, I caught up with the owner of Crawford’s Lakefront Café on the beachfront. His restaurant sits directly across from both the Ganaraska River and the Port Hope East Beach – a beach that has also been closed down on weekends since the beginning of July.

He tells me how destructive the closures have been for his restaurant. With six years of operation under his belt at this location, September is usually his best month. Thanks to both the closures of the water by the Town of Port Hope and the pandemic, this year's September is one of his worst months ever.

Now he is left in an unstable position, unsure of what the future holds for Crawford’s Lakefront Café.