Parts of Vernon’s Polson Park still closed because of flooding

Click to play video: 'Parts of Vernon’s Polson Park remain closed because of flooding' Parts of Vernon’s Polson Park remain closed because of flooding
Parts of Vernon’s Polson Park remain closed because of flooding – Jul 24, 2020

Land in Vernon’s Polson Park that is typically inhabited by playing, laughing children is now the domain of ducks.

The playground is surrounded by orange fencing because the land is still saturated with water.

“It’s kind of a stinking, flooded mess,” Vernon resident Marie Weiher said.

“The playground, spray park, I think over half the park is unusable right now. The water is scummy that’s on the road,” she said.

While the playground and splash park are closed, many other parts of the park remain open.

Read more: Okanagan region leads B.C. in number of new COVID-19 cases

A local summer camp now takes children to the park’s outdoor fitness centre, although the kids’ instructor said they were eager for the playground to reopen.

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“Because we come here, (but) there’s only so much you can do,” summer camp instructor Kevin Aschenmeier said. “They need a place to play. If they play over there, there’s so much to do. They’re not bored.”

Weiher believes the flooding in the park is the worst she’s ever seen and is calling on the city to fix it.

“Something’s got to be done. It can’t just be left,” she said.

Read more: Severe thunderstorm watch issued for North Okanagan, Shuswap

However, Vernon, B.C.,  city councillor Dalvir Nahal said the city is keeping a close eye on the situation and will look at options to fix the problem.

“I was a little bit shocked when I saw it,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much water had seeped up from underneath the ground.”

Nahal said she felt sorry for families because the playground is heavily utilized in the summer.

“But at the end of the day, it’s public safety first,” she said. “And it’s just not safe for children or adults to be in there, and we don’t know what’s in that water that’s seeping up from underneath the turf.”

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If something needs to be done, city staff will do it, Nahal said.

In an email, the city said park operators are struggling to cut the grass in certain areas because of so much standing water.

It also said it is emptying the Japanese and duck ponds more frequently to lower the groundwater levels in the park.

Officials said that they are hoping the playground and splash area will open this summer, but warmer weather is needed to dry up those areas first.

Click to play video: 'Vernon Flash flooding' Vernon Flash flooding
Vernon Flash flooding – Jun 30, 2020

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