Metro Vancouver has reopened Boundary Bay and Deas Island regional parks after closing them over the Easter long weekend.
The closures on April 9, and subsequent reopenings on April 15, were both done at the request of the City of Delta.
The city asked Metro Vancouver to close the parks after B.C. announced the closure of all provincial parks on April 8.
“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,” Mayor George Harvie said in press release. “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.”
Delta police and traffic safety personnel were stationed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Boundary Bay Road over the long weekend to flag cars and ensure that only residents entered the Boundary Bay village area. City engineering also posted signs in the area all the way out to Highway 17 letting people know that Boundary Bay Regional Park was closed and that the area was off limits to all but local traffic.
According to a press release, around 600 vehicles were turned away from Boundary Bay Regional Park on April 11 alone.
“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 Dr. Bonnie Henry’s physical distancing directives in these locations would have been extremely challenging,” the release says. “The city 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.”
With the long weekend over, the City of Delta requested that Metro Vancouver allow access to both Deas Island and Boundary Bay regional parks for those who can reach the parks without a vehicle.
Parking lots for both parks will remain closed to discourage potential large gatherings, and park facilities such as playgrounds, docks, rental facilities and picnic areas are also closed.
As well, the city is implementing additional parking limitations in Boundary Bay — which will be actively enforced —to maintain safety and make sure the narrow roads in the area are clear in case of emergency.