Play returning to playgrounds across Vancouver Island

A look at where playgrounds are opening and when they might be opening

Playgrounds around Vancouver Island have been reopening as COVID-19 restrictions lift.

Here is a sample of some of what’s happening around the Island (click the community name for the full story):

COMOX VALLEY

School District 71 and Comox Valley local governments reopened outdoor playgrounds on Monday, June 1.

This reopening includes all district school playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment as well as public outdoor playgrounds in the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), city of Courtenay, town of Comox, village of Cumberland and 19-Wing Comox.

PORT ALBERNI

Playgrounds in the Alberni Valley will be re-opening this week.

On Wednesday, June 10, all playgrounds within the City of Port Alberni, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and School District 70 will be re-opened to the public. This includes all spray parks within the Alberni Valley.

PARKSVILLE

Parksville is set to re-open the Lions Ventureland playground in the Parksville Community Park on Friday, June 12, as well as the outdoor gym.

The move is part of the city’s gradual reopening. The skate park and sports fields are already open for recreational use by small groups and sports courts in the Community Park and Springwood Park are open for casual play.

NANAIMO

The City of Nanaimo and Regional District of Nanaimo announced playgrounds would reopen June 3, with conditions.

Both levels of government announced in separate press releases that playgrounds will re-open and that the decision was made in consulting with the province, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Island Health.

LADYSMITH

The Town of Ladysmith reopened all playgrounds on Friday, June 5. This includes all sports fields, and the Ladysmith Skatepark.

”Reducing the potential for germs to spread is important during this slow and gradual period of reopening. Children, parents and caregivers who are feeling sick should stay home, without exceptions,” a Town press release said.

Playground equipment in parks is not being cleaned or disinfected. The Town is installing updated signage with guidelines and tips promoting a shared understanding for the standard for safety and hygiene.

NORTH COWICHAN

North Cowichan’s municipal parks are gradually reopening in collaboration with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, other member municipalities, and Cowichan Valley School District No. 79 following guidelines released June 1 by the BC Recreation and Parks Association and Worksafe BC.

This includes playgrounds, public washrooms, seasonal portables and skate parks. Municipal dog parks, sports courts and fields, and tennis/pickleball courts are already open.

DUNCAN

Playgrounds, sports fields and other public exercise equipment is now open to the public again in the City of Duncan.

On June 3, 2020, following guidelines released by the BC Recreation and Parks Association and WorkSafe BC, the city has removed the yellow tape that barred people from using these facilities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

SOOKE

Playgrounds in Sooke reopened June 1.

The move comes more than two months after facilities were shutdown during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and 10 days into the second phase of B.C.’s Restart Plan.

“Using the parks and playgrounds responsibly will help ensure that residents will continue to have access to our beautiful outdoor spaces,” the District of Sooke said in a press release.

WEST SHORE

Playspaces across the region begin to get back into the swing of things this month.

Municipalities across the region closed playgrounds and park benches in March to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Langford has reopened its playgrounds, parks and public washrooms, announced on social media Thursday, June 4. Playground users must bring their own hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes and maintain physical distancing on site. Westhills Stadium and Goudy Field remain closed.

ESQUIMALT

Esquimalt is ready to get back in the swing of things Tuesday, though residents should note the playground equipment is not being disinfected.

Municipal playgrounds open to the public June 9 after closing on March 20 due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

“Residents value our neighbourhood playgrounds and we are thrilled to make them available again,” Mayor Barbara Desjardins said in a statement.

OAK BAY

Mark it down as the spring no kids could play.

From March 20 to June 7, Oak Bay playgrounds were condemned as an unsafe point of contact for the spread of COVID-19 and other contractible illnesses.

Playgrounds in Oak Bay reopened June 8, a decision made with guidance from Island Health, said a District news release.

SAANICH

Families will once again be invited to enjoy Saanich’s 56 playgrounds while adhering to new health and safety protocols.

After a nearly three month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saanich reopens some of its play structures in municipal parks starting June 9 with the rest to follow on June 10. According to the District of Saanich website, park users will know if a playground hasn’t been opened yet if caution tape is still up.

SIDNEY

Closed since March 20, Sidney’s playgrounds started to reopen Monday, June 8.

The municipality said in a release that the opening marked the next step in its “phased approach” to safely reopen recreational facilities closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The phased opening first applies to Tulista Park and Iroquois Park. “Other municipal playgrounds will be reopened in the days following, as required maintenance and inspections are performed,” it read.

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