IMMEDIATELY following the provincial government’s decision on April 8, to close provincial parks, the City of Delta requested that Metro Vancouver close its destination parks in Delta – Deas Island and Boundary Bay Regional Park – to protect public safety. These regional parks were closed on April 9 in advance of the Easter long weekend.
The provincial park closure would have put additional pressure on destination regional parks and the City of Delta acted swiftly with Metro Vancouver to follow the provincial government’s lead. In fact, approximately 600 vehicles were turned away from Boundary Bay Regional Park on April 11 – a clear indication of the importance of proactively closing the park, said the City on Wednesday.
While this closure has been a hardship on locals who use these parks on a regular basis, without the closure for the Easter long weekend, meeting Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s physical distancing directives in these locations would have been extremely challenging. The City said it has consistently acted proactively to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health, including by taking actions like these closures to protect the community.
The closures of Deas Island and Boundary Regional Park were always envisioned to be revisited after the long weekend to find a way that the parks could be used safely, within the guidelines set by Henry. The City said it is seeking the right balance between protecting public health and ensuring Delta residents have access to open spaces for physically separate exercise.
Now that the long weekend is over, the City of Delta is requesting that Metro Vancouver allow for access to both Deas Island and Boundary Bay Regional Park for those who can reach the parks without a vehicle. To avoid the potential for large gatherings, the parking lots for both parks need to remain closed. Additional parking limitations will be implemented in Boundary Bay for safety and parking regulations will be actively enforced. The City of Delta continues to urge people to stay close to home, which for local residents includes using Deas Island and Boundary Bay Regional Parks for exercise while practicing safe physical distancing.
“Our top priority is always public safety. We needed to close Metro Vancouver’s destination parks in Delta ahead of the long weekend to avoid gatherings that would spread COVID-19. Now we hope we have found a compromise where local residents will still be able to safely make use of these parks. I want to thank the vast majority of people for practicing safe physical distancing in parks and throughout the community. It is important that we continue to do this,” said Delta Mayor George V. Harvie.
Metro Vancouver staff will be monitoring the parks to ensure patrons practice safe physical distancing, while City staff in conjunction with Mayor and Council will continue to evaluate this approach.
Visit the City’s website at Delta.ca/coronavirus for updates to Delta’s response to COVID-19 as well as resources for local businesses.