With people defying a COVID-19-related closure order, a Regional District of Nanaimo official says extra security measures will be implemented to stop skateboarding at a Cedar park.
The RDN closed all sports courts and playgrounds in its parks indefinitely in late March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. At a regional district committee meeting Tuesday, Tom Osborne, general manager of recreation and parks, said most people are respecting COVID-19 rules, with the only exception being at Cedar Skate Park.
“We do have one skate park in Cedar that we are challenged with,” Osborne said at the meeting. “We’ve had to hire security guards on site. Barriers have been put in place and even with those measures continues to be a challenge, so we are looking to what other operators of skateboard parks are doing to discourage use and we’ll be rolling those out in the coming days as we move that forward.”
In an e-mail, Osborne told the News Bulletin this could include the use of sand.
“Other jurisdictions with skate parks have had to place large volumes of sand on skate parks to prevent them from being used,” Osborne said. “At this time a security firm has been retained to help RDN bylaw services monitor the site in addition to barriers being placed at the park. If it has found that the park barriers continue to be compromised and the site used, the placement of sand option may be implemented.”
Tom Armet, RDN manager of building and bylaw services, told the News Bulletin the regional district can’t ticket or penalize anyone who happens to use the skate park during the pandemic, as it doesn’t have the authority.
The B.C. government has clarified bylaw enforcement officer responsibilities in order to provide a consistent approach across the province, Armet said in an e-mail. Officers can only assist with compliance and enforcement of public health orders, as only the provincial health officer or Island Health may direct enforcement, he said.
In electoral areas, RDN bylaw enforcement officers will continue to monitor community facilities and areas closed to the public, remind residents that playgrounds, sports courts and skate parks are closed and remind residents of the critical need to ensure physical distance, said Armet.