Opinion: Reckless behaviour could end up closing these Burnaby trails

Chris Campbell

People seem to think that just because they are outside, they are significantly safer from COVID-19.

That’s led to some pretty awful behaviour, judging from the photos posted of people at local beaches and on nature trails.

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You still need to practice physical distancing at all times.

Take, for example, Burnaby Lake Regional Park. It’s run by Metro Vancouver, which took steps on Wednesday to actually warn people not to be stupid on our local trails.

And the warning came with a subtle message that the park could end up getting shut down if the behaviour continues.

Metro Vancouver’s reminder follows the full closure of Brae Island Regional Park in the Township of Langley and the closure of parking lots at Boundary Bay Regional Park, Deas Island Regional Park and Delta Heritage Airpark in the City of Delta; both within municipalities that have declared a local state of emergency. All other Metro Vancouver Regional Parks are currently open, though park facilities such as playgrounds, docks, rental facilities and picnic areas are closed.

Metro Vancouver has increased staffing, parking lot traffic management and signage at regional parks. Park users are being reminded to practice physical distancing and to regularly wash their hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“The majority of Metro Vancouver Regional Parks remain open because we understand that spending time in nature is a good way to reduce stress and take care of both your physical and mental health,” said Sav Dhaliwal, Metro Vancouver Board Chair and a councillor in Burnaby. “However, all visitors must respect the direction of the Provincial Health Officer and practice physical distancing to mitigate the spread of the virus and prevent further restrictions at regional parks.” 

To ensure Regional Parks remain open (hint, hint), park users are asked to follow these clear and simple instructions:

  • Maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from others, including in parking lots and trail entrances. 
  • Comply with closures of playgrounds, nature play areas and picnic shelters.
  • Wash or sanitize hands frequently during the day and upon returning home from our Regional Parks.
  • Dispose of any tissues in designated garbage bins.
  • If you are sick, please protect others by staying home and not visiting our Regional Parks until you are well.

“As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, every one of us must adapt our daily behaviors to reduce the burden on our healthcare system,” said John McEwen, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee. “Metro Vancouver will continue to monitor and manage visitor behaviour in all of its parks, and will take the necessary action to protect public health and safety throughout the system. We are all in this together – everyone needs to do their part to flatten the COVID-19 curve.”

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