CRD parks to stay open despite complaints about full parking lots

CRD parks to stay open despite complaints about full parking lots
WatchComplaints continue to pour in about people not social distancing in public but CRD parks will stay open as most people are obeying the rules. Tess van Straaten reports.

Taking advantage of a beautiful sunny day, Glynnis Miller and her mom are walking at one of Greater Victoria’s popular CRD parks.

But they don’t live in the same household, so they’re walking at least six feet or two metres apart at Island View Beach for safe social distancing.

“We walked several feet apart all the way down the beach and all the way back,” Miller explains.

Even though the parking lot is pretty full on a Monday morning, the pair say most people seem to be following the rules.

“Yes, people are great,” Gillian Mada-Robins says. “We see each other coming and we all avoid each other so most times it’s very considerate.”

But complaints — mainly about full parking lots at Capital Regional District parks — are pouring in.

“Most people are behaving appropriately and the people who we are hearing from tend to be people who live near the parks and are more worried about the amount of people at their park in their neighbourhood than the behaviour at the park,” Capital Regional District (CRD) chair Colin Plant explains.

In other parts of Canada, police and by-law officers are cracking down with hefty fines.

More than 1,000 vehicles were turned away from two Toronto parks on Saturday.

In Nova Scotia, dozens of tickets were handed out to people not in compliance.

But on Vancouver Island, officials are opting for warning signs instead of fines.

And health officials say the much bigger risk is people still having parties, play dates, and friends over for dinner.

“When we’re outside in a park, the risk of transmission is actually much less than when we’re inside so I don’t want to spend a lot of time policing people outside,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

“I’m much more concerned about people having people over and mixing with them and then they go off and mix with others. That’s how it spreads.”

In the CRD’s 31 parks, high-touch surfaces that could pose a risk like playgrounds and bike racks are closed.

Staff are also being re-deployed to parks to make sure people are following the rules.

And as long as the vast majority of people do follow the rules, parks will stay open.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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