Commentary: We need more space right now, not less

Commentary: We need more space right now, not less

Ian Haysom’s coronavirus diary will appear here regularly.

The more we keep apart during The Virus, the more we seem to be getting closer.

People seem to be a lot friendlier during this period of social distancing. More respectful. I try to get out once a day, for a bike ride, a walk or sometimes kayaking with my wife.  At the very least, just about everybody I encounter has a friendly word, or a nod, a smile, or will even chat for awhile, keeping responsibly apart.

Which is why it’s a little mystifying why the province has closed all the provincial parks, while the Capital Regional District and Victoria parks stay open.

The province says it was worried people would get too close in parking lots, or have to squeeze by each other on trails, but at the parks I’ve been to recently most people have no problem keeping their distance.

The other night, I drove down to Island View Beach to look at the pink moon over the water. When I got there the main parking lot was busy. We had decided if it was too crowded then we would retreat, or just look at the spectacular moon from inside our car. But we found a place to park, well away from adjacent vehicles, and we found everyone exited and entered their vehicles respectfully.

Everyone made sure they gave everyone else lots of room.  People would stay in their cars until the people in adjacent vehicles were safely out of the way.

We walked along the beach and everyone had spread themselves out, keeping a distance of at least 20 metres. And if someone came towards you on the trail, then we both did big detours away from each other.

All very polite. And Canadian. In Manchester, in England, things haven’t gone quite so well. While the vast majority have been acting responsibly, the police today said they’d had to break up parties that had included disc jockeys, fireworks and bouncy castles.

Yesterday, we went kayaking from Telegraph Cove beach near Cadboro Bay. There was a handful of people on the beach, a couple of small children with parents by the water,  but again everyone kept their distance. We launched at least 10 metres from the nearest person. And when anyone walked along the beach, they made sure they were well away from everyone else.

Last weekend, we cycled along the Lochside Trail and though it was busier than usual, everyone did The Virus Swerve, walkers and cyclists alike.

The good thing about the Lochside is that you know to keep to your right. That’s a little more difficult on some of the tighter trails at, say, Durrance Lake (which is a CRD park) but as someone said, yesterday, why don’t we all agree to go one way? That’s what you have to do in supermarkets these days, so why not in provincial parks? There’s a lot more room there. And better air.

The fear, of course, is that we’ll all congregate en masse, particularly on warm weekends, as this Easter is likely to be. And the province doesn’t want to spend too much money right now policing the parks.

But the CRD, as far as I can tell, seems to be making it work. They say they’re watching the situation carefully, but I’d encourage a way to keep the parks, regionally and provincially, open rather than just taking the easy route and putting up No Entry signs.

Bouquets to the City of Victoria which today announced it will make it easier for people to maintain physical distance in Beacon Hill Park and along Dallas Road by restricting vehicle access and realigning parking. All municipalities are sending out advisories to be careful and respectful if you are going into a park.

Yes, the yahoos could spoil it for us, but yahoos always try to spoil it for everyone. You don’t govern for yahoos. You govern for the vast majority of responsible people. Don’t let the Covidiots drive us out of the fresh air.

If this suffocating world we’re now living in is going to go on and on, right through this summer, then we’re going to have to find ways to keep people healthy, not cooped up in their homes.

We’ve got to help them breathe.

And, yes, stay alive.

Yes, we can limit the amount of people walking together, or sitting on a beach. We can have good signage about social distancing rules. And we can ask people who want to enjoy the outdoors to be responsible to everyone.

It’s a balance. Yes, But we’re all going to need a lot more space to get through this.

Read the previous diaries here:

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 18, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 19, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 20, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 22, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 23, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 24, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 25, 2020

Commentary: The Coronavirus Diaries March 26, 2020

Commentary: Living in a bubble world

Commentary: Living in a virus virtual world

Commentary: No April Fools. That’s no joke

Commentary: Get ready for the long haul – and hunker down

Commentary: Trudeau’s time is now – to lead us out of the abyss

Commentary: The days of Zoom and FaceTime and Skype …Just don’t turn into a potato

Commentary: God save the Queen and all of us

Commentary: Coronavirus and romance – don’t stand so close to me

Commentary: It’s time to be creative – go paint a daffodil



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