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COVID-19 restart: city parks and recreation facilities starting to re-open

Connaught Hill Park will be opened to vehicle traffic as of May 22. City of Prince George photo

The City of Prince George is following the lead of the province as it works to “re-start” civic facilities, operations, and services in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more than two months now, many civic facilities have been closed and many outdoor recreation facilities have not re-opened following winter closure. Parks and trails have been open with signage about physical distancing, and the city is now gradually increasing access to outdoor recreation.

Public access

Gates providing vehicular access to Connaught Hill and Nechako Riverside Parks are now open for normal summertime hours.

Starting on Friday, May 22, public access will be permitted at bike and skate parks, and public tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts.

Playgrounds and fenced dog parks remain closed until further notice. These facilities pose particular challenges with maintaining physical distancing.

Due to ongoing public health restrictions related to events, the city will not be accepting bookings from the public for parks or park facilities in 2020. This includes the Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park pavilion and bandshell, the Rainbow and Paddlewheel Park gazebos, and Connaught Hill. Residents interested in using these facilities for small gatherings can do so on a first-come, first-served basis.

User groups

Sport fields and ball diamonds will no longer be closed but user groups that book them require an annual rental agreement with the city as well as a “return-to-play” plan. Provincial sport organizations are developing return-to-play plans that incorporate health orders and recommendations in order to safeguard the health of all participants.

A rental agreement and return-to-play plan have been provided to the City by the Prince George Tennis and Pickleball Club. In addition, because this club’s facility, which is adjacent to the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, is not maintained by city staff, it will re-open today. Golf courses are also open.

Council

At its regularly scheduled meeting on June 15, Council will receive an update concerning other City recreation facilities such as Masich Place Stadium, pools, and arenas.

“On behalf of council, I wish to thank the residents of Prince George for everything you are and have been doing to help flatten the curve,” says Mayor Lyn Hall. “Even though more of our outdoor facilities are opening, all residents should continue to follow the advice of Dr. Henry and be vigilant about such things as maintaining social distancing between yourself and others and staying home if you’re sick. As individual residents and as members of a community, we have to remain focused on staying healthy.”

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