Stanley Park to extend overnight closure due to coyote risk

THE Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation on Tuesday announced that it was extending the temporary closure of all non-essential access to Stanley Park between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. beginning Tuesday night. The closure, which was originally implemented to mitigate fire risk, was being extended in an effort to reduce continued conflict between park users and coyotes.

Park Rangers will continue to maintain temporary overnight access control points at four locations across the park to reduce the number of individuals in the park overnight. Vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, and anyone who does not require essential access to the park will be turned around at access control points.

Anyone requiring entry into the park during the closure, including the No. 19 bus, emergency services, patrons and staff of park businesses, will be permitted to enter through the control points. Individuals who remain in the park after the closure begins will have unrestricted access to leave the park through the control points.

The access control points are positioned at the following locations:

* Traffic circle off Georgia Street

* The corner of Barclay and Park Lane

* The South exit of the Stanley Park Causeway (closure in effect from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.)

* The North exit of the Stanley Park Causeway (closure in effect from 10 p.m.-6 a.m.)

The causeway will remain open. Access to the seawall will be closed. Signage will be placed along the access points of the seawall to advise pedestrians and cyclists of the closure. Park Rangers will be patrolling the park throughout the closure to monitor activity.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation is working with the BC Conservation Officer Service, Stanley Park Ecology Society, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development on ongoing efforts to address and reduce coyote conflicts in the park.

“We are taking the escalating conflicts with coyotes extremely seriously and have offered our full support to the Province to do whatever we can inside Stanley Park as public safety is our number one priority,” said Donnie Rosa, General Manager of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. “At this point, a number of options are on the table and our focus remains on removing attractants and influencing public behaviour to ensure direct and indirect feeding of coyotes and other wildlife comes to a stop.

“In the last week alone we have removed 1,000 kgs of garbage from the park, secured animal-proof garbage cans that will be installed shortly, and printed 96 new signs to be installed at key locations where the majority of coyote incidents are taking place. We are asking the public to help us with this issue and to observe the park closures overnight, to stay off trails when visiting businesses in the park, and to report any feeding of wildlife.”

The public are reminded to dispose of garbage appropriately and that feeding all wildlife within the park, including coyotes, raccoons and birds, is strictly prohibited.

Visitors to the park need to be aware of their surroundings especially at dusk and dawn. If a coyote is encountered:

* Make yourself big. Face the coyote, stand tall, arms stretched. Do not run.

* Speak loudly and make noise (but don’t scream).

* Call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 to report any aggressive behaviour or wildlife feeding.

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