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Coronavirus: District of Coldstream partially re-opening green spaces

The District of Coldstream said its approach to reopening green spaces, including dog parks, seen here, includes a few guidelines, such as physical distancing. Google Maps

B.C.’s District of Coldstream says it will be reopening its parks and public spaces, albeit in a phased approach, as coronavirus pandemic safety measures continue.

On Wednesday, the district said its phased approach is in response to comments from the provincial health officer last week that current COVID-19 restrictions could be lifted or modified as early as mid-May.

The district said its phased approach includes a few guidelines, such as physical distancing, along with the provincial health order banning gatherings of 50 or more people.

READ MORE: All provincial parks in B.C.’s Southern Interior closed to help address COVID-19: Ministry of Environment

“This was seen as a way to facilitate the public being able to access local green spaces, while still ensuring that they’re physical distancing and not gathering in groups,” Coldstream chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel told Global News on Thursday.

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“It’s an opportunity for residents to access their local green spaces in their neighbourhoods,” Seibel said.

The guidelines, according to the district:

  • Ensure that people maintain proper social physical distancing when outside;
  • Encourage local use of parks and discourage driving into residential neighborhoods to access facilities, including the Okanagan Rail Trail.

What’s open and closed in Phase 1:

  • All park green spaces will be opened, including dog parks and the cemetery;
  • All equipment and facilities in the parks will remain closed due to high touch points and an inability to keep enough distance between individuals. This includes playground equipment, tennis courts, skateboard park and washroom facilities;
  • Kal Beach and its parking lot is closed;
  • Parking lots that are currently closed will remain closed.

If you visit a Coldstream park, you are asked to:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) between yourself and others;
  • Do not gather in groups;
  • Only attend outdoor spaces with people you live with;
  • Continue practicing sound hygiene.

The district said if park users gather in groups and do not follow social distancing orders, these parks may be closed again in the future.

“Ultimately, the directives from the provincial health officer are imperative,” said Seibel.

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“So people [need to ensure] that they’re maintaining an appropriate distance of six feet.

“We don’t want people gathering — that’s what created this situation of the parks closures back at the end of March.”

“We had multiple complaints from people about large gatherings in a few of the parks. We want people to ensure that they’re maintaining those distances and not gathering.”

He added “the hope is that the opening of the green spaces in our neighbourhoods will allow the local residents to get access to those green spaces.”

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