Skip to content

Algoma Public Health tickets Dunlop Lake Lodge for Reopening Ontario Act issues

Lodge owner disputes accusation of failure to comply with vaccine allegations
vaccine AdobeStock_327257834
Stock image

The owner of Dunlop Lake Lodge, Tricia MacDonald, says she and her family have been targeted locally by people who don't share her views. 

At the crux of the problem, a controversy fuelled on social media about checking COVID-19 vaccination credentials at the lodge. 

While she refused to confirm or deny that Dunlop Lake Lodge, located just off Highway 108 north of Elliot Lake, does not check guests’ vaccine certificates, Algoma Public Health says a ticket has been issued against the company.

"I can't discuss that with you, you understand. I just called back just as a courtesy and (to) see where you are going with things," MacDonald said. "I mean, I wish you well, and maybe there'll be more opportunity for people to speak honestly in the future."

MacDonald said the lodge, its management and their family members are being attacked on social media. 

"I have a family and children. And I'm not interested in public harassment," she said.

MacDonald adds it would be very costly and time-consuming to conduct COVID vaccine checks at Dunlop Lake Lodge due to the way it's laid out, she said. The building has four different entrances to the restaurant as well as two other entrances.

She contends that it would be cost-prohibitive and logistically difficult to hire someone to sit in front of every entrance and too inconvenient to lock other entrances and have people walk around to a single entrance.

That option would also create issues with accessibility, MacDonald added.

"We only have two accessible entrances. We would have issues with fire rules and regulations," she said. "We calculated it and I'm up against an increased cost of $100,000 a year. So on paper things look possible. But then in implementation, it is not the same."

She says she is working with Algoma Public Health and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario on ways to deal with the vaccine issue.  

Chris Spooney, Manager of Environmental Health at Algoma Public Health, has confirmed that Dunlop Lake Lodge has been issued a ticket for failing to comply with requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act, even after initial education and information had been provided.

"All enforcement activities use a progressive enforcement approach, beginning with education, to ensure appropriate information is provided and businesses are provided reasonable opportunities to comply," Spooney said.

Lily Croskery, owner of Lil's Chop Shop on Hillside says the issue of COVID-19 prevention measures has become politicized and it has her concerned for people's safety.

"This is all political now, and it shouldn't be," she said. "Half of them probably have their own vaccine scar on them."

She says she's been criticized on social media, on the phone and in person for following official protocols for operating her hairdressing and beauty business according to the established government COVID-19 Reopening Ontario Act.

"Then this group goes and takes my name and my shop name and puts it in that other nut job Facebook page," Croskery said. "Oh my lord, what is wrong with these people?" 

Croskery said she lodged a complaint with the health authority and warned friends, family and customers to avoid the Dunlop Lake Lodge after hearing complaints from customers about reopening act violations out there.

"I know (Mayor) Dan Marchisella was involved, bylaw and the police, so I'm not talking through my hat. They're in the wrong," she said. "And if you want to be that blatant and post stuff like that, you know, give your head a shake. And then play victim afterwards?"

"They're threatening my business. They're going to boycott me," Croskery said. "They've had people calling me all the time, even coming to my door."

She also said as many as 47 people say they are going to sue her for adhering to Ontario's reopening act.

"They're pissed off because they can't come into my shop, basically if you're not (vaccinated). You have to have proof of vaccination," she said. "They're mad because I don't necessarily have to do it but I do it for myself, my customers and my grandchildren who can't be vaccinated."

Algoma Public Health says enforcement, including the laying of tickets and charges, of COVID-19 regulations under the Reopening Ontario Act is conducted with multiple partners, including local law and bylaw enforcement, AGCO, Ministry of Labour, and local public health.


About the Author: Brent Sleightholm

As a reporter, Brent has covered everything from amateur and professional sports, to politics, entertainment, police and courts, to human interest stories and government issues
Read more