City staff consider reducing hours at ‘certain problematic parks’

Special to WC Online

OTTAWA – City of Ottawa city manager Steve Kanellakos says staff is looking at reducing opening hours at certain problematic parks within the city.

Kanellakos says, with concurrence of the ward councillor, the city may temporarily reduce hours at select parks “to help enforce the province-wide stay-at-home measures,” in a memo to council today (April 14) obtained by West Carleton Online.

Since April 8, the Province of Ontario has been in a province-wide state of emergency and subject to a provincial Stay-at-Home order. These restrictions are in place to slow the third wave of COVID-19 currently filling hospitals in Ottawa and across the province.

“Our city’s health care capacity is threatened, and the Stay-at-Home order and other public health measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives,” Kanellakos said. “Since the province-wide state of emergency was declared, public gatherings at certain city parks have exceeded the current public health guidelines. Large gatherings, parties and other activities have occurred in parks that put the public’s health at risk. In an effort to reinforce the provincial restrictions, and with concurrence from the ward councillor, the city may reduce hours at certain problematic parks.”

Opening hours in those problematic parks will continue to be 5 a.m., however, the parks will close and all persons required to leave by 9 p.m. or earlier, seven days a week. Signs will be posted at any park with reduced hours.

Bylaw officers will continue to respond to bylaw complaints and visit all city parks and enforce the provincial orders. Later this week, Park Ambassadors will also begin visiting parks to reinforce public health measures and identify any issues.

“Residents are reminded that under the province-wide Stay-at-Home order, the public is required to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely,” Kanellakos said.

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