Outdoor activities are back on the docket in some parts of the Island with the reopening of some recreation facilities in the Nanaimo area and across the Capital Regional District (CRD).
Effective May 14, the CRD will reopen some outdoor facilities at its four recreation centres: Panorama Recreation Centre in North Saanich, Greenglade Community Centre in Sidney, Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission (SEAPARC) and the Salt Spring Island Parks Recreation Commission.
In an information bulletin posted May 13, the CRD says signage will be posted at each facility with reminders of health and safety precautions and physical distancing.
“Users are expected to continue to adhere to public health guidelines of maintaining 2 metres of physical distance, no sharing of equipment, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home if sick,” the CRD writes.
Registration for summer camps and programs is open for Panorama Recreation. The DeMamiel Creek Golf Course opened at SEAPARC on May 1 with additional precautions.
The City of Victoria is easing some restrictions on recreation as well. In a media release issued May 13, the City said it would be re-opening tennis and pickleball courts, sports fields and skate and bike parks on May 14 as part of a “phased return to outdoor recreation facilities.”
The facilities may be open, but lessons or league play will be still be prohibited, and users will be expected to follow health guidelines, the City says. As with CRD facilities, signage will display guidelines for use.
“A cautious re-opening of some outdoor recreation facilities is a positive step forward for physical and mental well-being,” says a statement Mayor Lisa Helps. “It’s important to stay active and healthy outdoors and we’re doing that in a safe, coordinated way across the region.”
The City of Nanaimo and Regional District of Nanaimo announced Wednesday that select outdoor recreation amenities will re-open Thursday, May 14.
In Nanaimo, tennis and pickleball courts will re-open, as well as gated off-leash dog parks and the Steve Smith Bike Park. Throughout the RDN, sports courts will re-open May 14 and the Cedar Skate Park will re-open May 21. In both the city and regional district, tennis and pickleball courts are open to singles play only, except when doubles teams are made up of partners from the same household.
The city and regional district both shared additional guidelines, reminding residents to adhere to physical distancing, wash hands before and after visiting the park and avoiding sharing equipment, water bottles and other items.
Art Groot, city director of facility and parks operations, said in a press release that the city is pleased to be able to re-open several outdoor amenities.
“Because of the community’s commitment to following the physical distancing measures outlined by the provincial health officer, we are now able to begin Phase 1 of our re-opening plan,” he said. “We want to encourage the citizens of Nanaimo to follow the posted guidelines at each facility so that these areas remain open and that other amenities, in time, can also re-open.”
Nanaimo’s municipal playgrounds will remain closed until further notice. The city will consult with the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association and B.C. Ministry of Health for re-opening guidelines.
“No date at this point to re-open playgrounds until guidelines [are] developed and approved,” said Richard Harding, city general manager of parks, recreation and culture, in an e-mail.
West Shore Parks and Recreation visitors will be able to use outdoor facilities as long as they stay in small groups and keep physical distancing in mind.
The par-3 Juan De Fuca Golf Course is now open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. While the pro shop will remain closed for the time being, the pay metre on the first tee will be available to take green fees. Staff will be on site at the first tee, and parks ambassadors will be roaming the course to ensure social distancing guidelines are enforced, according to a statement from West Shore Parks and Recreation.
The pay meter and washrooms are being disinfected and cleaned frequently and the pins at each hole will be set with a raised cup so there is no need to touch the pins.
Tennis and pickleball courts have also been opened from 8 a.m. to dusk for drop-in use. Social distancing and safe play rules have been provided from Tennis BC and Pickleball BC and have been posted to ensure everyone can enjoy the courts safely.
After the May long weekend, other amenities in the lower Juan De Fuca park like ball fields, basketball courts, the picnic shelter and the lacrosse boxes will be opened for small group and non-rental usage. Social distancing guidelines should be respected and no game play will be allowed when using the amenities.
West Shore Parks and Recreation says ambassadors will also be monitoring these areas and responding to public inquiries as needed.
The decision to reopen facilities comes alongside the B.C. government’s Restart Plan for the province, which includes recreation in its first phase to roll out this month.
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