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Beausoleil First Nation expands restrictions in wake of unwanted beach visitors

Chief says people are aware that beaches are closed, but are ignoring the restrictions
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Security checkpoints went up at Cedar Point last month. Photo provided by the Southern Georgian Bay OPP

Beausoleil First Nation community is up in arms about weekend visitors.

That's according to Chief Guy Monague, who noted it happened last weekend as three visitors attempted to access beaches on Christian Island.

This has led to travel restrictions being expanded to include all of Beausoleil First Nation territory, which includes Cedar Point along with Christian, Beckwith, and Hope islands, according to an official statement.

"The people themselves should know that it is a First Nation and if you're not invited, then you'd be trespassing," Monague said, adding that it's not a case of people being unaware that the beaches are not open.

"I think they know and are aware. People always say they're not aware," he added. "It's the same with our people. We have a lot of restrictions and everybody is getting antsy and looking to get some sun."

However, Monague said the First Nation is still hasn't had a case of COVID-19 and would like to keep it that way.

"We knew the numbers would probably spike with the government relaxing some of the rules," he said. "It's more people connecting and that's how it's going to spread."

The official statement also says, “Beausoleil First Nation is still operating under a state of emergency and travel to our territory will continue to be restricted, despite the province’s announcement today that marinas, campgrounds and private parks will reopen. Our beaches will remain closed to non-residents.”

The First Nation declared a state of emergency on March 16 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and placed restrictions on travel to Christian Island. Non-residents (including seasonal visitors and First Nation members residing off-reserve) are restricted from travelling to Christian Island until further notice.

“Beausoleil First Nation has requested the assistance of the Ontario Provincial Police and the Anishinabek Police Service to patrol its territory," says the release. "Charges will be laid against those who are found trespassing on Beausoleil First Nation territory while the state of emergency remains in effect.”