City Calls On Residents to Safely Use City Parks and Trails
PORT COQUITLAM, BC – April 9, 2020… With the Easter long weekend approaching, Port Coquitlam is calling on residents to keep their distance and comply with health orders to prevent more closures of outdoor spaces.
Port Coquitlam was among the first to proactively close playgrounds, skate parks and other amenities over concerns that users were not following the direction of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to stay two metres (six feet) away from others when in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“With the long weekend coming up and good weather in the forecast I know people are going to want to get outdoors, but it’s absolutely essential and not optional that every single one of us follow the orders of the Provincial Health Officer,” said Mayor Brad West. “We’re stepping up our patrols over the long weekend of popular spots and trails. If people don’t follow the orders, we’ll have no choice but to have more closures.”
At this time, all parks, trails and parking lots in Port Coquitlam remain open. The city has posted educational signage, distance markers and increased the presence of Bylaw and Park Ambassadors at local parks and trails to remind the public to follow the social distancing requirements.
With more people expected to be outdoors this weekend, additional staff have been redeployed to the Park Ambassador team, which will be wearing high visibility vests. Tailgate gatherings in parking lots are the latest area of concern and will be closely monitored by the Park Ambassadors, along with public spaces throughout the city.
“We’re at a critical point in the COVID-19 pandemic, and every single one of us has to demonstrate responsibility, do our part and be a good role model to keep others safe,” added Mayor West. “This is not the time to relax. Use technology to connect with others rather than meeting in person. If you do go out, keep your distance from people that are not your immediate family. It’s a sacrifice, but for the greater good.”
Residents who see others not complying with provincial health orders can report incidents with the reporting form linked at www.portcoquitlam.ca/bylawservices for follow-up by bylaw officers.
“Our parks and open spaces provide important relief for people at this stressful time. We can still enjoy them, but only if we socially distance ourselves and don’t gather in groups – and that goes for our kids as well,” added West. “As a parent of a young child I know it’s tough, but the better job we do of this now, the faster and easier we will all get through this.”
What Residents Can Do
- Stay home as much as possible and avoid non-essential trips and gatherings.
- Do not go out in public if you are sick, have any symptoms or returning from a trip.
- Use online tools that allow for virtual socializing.
- Limit contact with higher-risk people (i.e. older adults and those with health conditions).
- Follow proper hygiene as directed by health authorities, including regularly and thoroughly washing hands with soap and water and avoiding touching your face.
If you do go out:
- Always stay at least two metres or six feet away from others that do not live with you (at least two arm lengths).
- If you are on a trail or anywhere that does not allow for safe distancing, try another location.
- Avoid gathering in outdoor spaces for socializing.
- Opt for parks, trails and routes that are in your local neighbourhood and less travelled.
- Avoid going out at peak times when parks and trails are busy.
- Walk single file if approaching people coming from the opposite direction.
- Warn others if you pass them on a trail or sidewalk to ensure proper distancing.
What the City is Doing
This is the latest proactive action Port Coquitlam has taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to support the community at this challenging time. Other measures have included:
- Closing all civic facilities, playgrounds, sports courts and sports fields to the public:
- Postponing or cancelling a number of events and programs;
- Assigning staff to help enforce provincial orders to close restaurants, pubs and personal services to ensure the safety of residents;
- Launching weekly green waste pick up earlier than planned; and
- Deferring tax and utility payments to Sept. 2 and other supports.
The city has also activated the Emergency Operations Centre and business continuity plan to ensure a coordinated response and the continued delivery of core services such as water, sewer, police and fire, along with online services. Remote access tools have been provided to allow key staff to work from home.
Many city services continue to be available by phone, email and online. For information, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/covid19 or follow the City of Port Coquitlam on social media.
For all health-related concerns, the public is advised to call 811, the Government of Canada novel coronavirus telephone information line a: 1-833-784-4397, or to contact their health-care provider or local public health office.
For recommendations on protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19, and to use the online self-assessment tool, visit BC Centre for Disease Control at www.bccdc.ca.
For more information and updates please contact the following resources:
- Fraser Health Authority – www.fraserhealth.ca
- Public Health Agency of Canada – canada.ca/publichealth
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Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533