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Ontario Announces Provincial Parks & Conservation Reserves Open to Walking, Hiking and Biking

STOCK_Parks Updates

On Saturday (May 9), the Province announced it would be reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves starting today (Monday, May 11) with more to follow by Friday, May 15 for limited-day use. Recreational activities are limited to walking, hiking, biking and bird-watching. Parks are free until the end of the month.

According to the provincial announcement, camping and other activities are not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities, including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds and beaches continue to be closed.

The Province’s announcement mirrors our situation in Burlington — unlike other cities, we never closed our parks. They have remained open throughout the pandemic for walking through. We continue to ask people to “walk, don’t stop.”

We encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Please continue to practise physical distancing and following public health advice below.

Consistent with provincial emergency orders and Saturday’s provincial announcement, city park amenities, including playgrounds, remain closed.

We closed parking lots adjacent to parks to avoid overcrowding and encourage people to stay in their neighbourhoods. As we review what our neighbouring municipalities are doing, we will also review this as we prepare our phased reopening of amenities and park use, consistent with public health advice and provincial announcements. We will be coordinating efforts with local park organizations to be consistent as possible in the use of parks and trails.

CONSERVATION HALTON

Conservation Halton parks (Mt. Nemo, Crawford Lake, Rattlesnake Point, Hilton Falls, Kelso, Mountsberg, Robert Edmonsdson) are separate from Conservation Reserves and Provincial Parks, and are independently owned and operated, without tax revenues. CH parks remain closed for now. CH is looking into a number of options that will allow monitoring visitor volume and opening parks in a safe and responsible way through pre-registered bookings in the coming days. CH will be gradually opening parks in a phased approach over the next several weeks.

GUIDANCE FROM HALTON REGION PUBLIC HEALTH

Outdoor recreational amenities that are intended to be used by more than one family, such as outdoor playgrounds, sports fields, beaches, picnic sites, and park shelters, remain closed until May 19th, as an Emergency Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Under the Emergency Order, green spaces in parks, trails and ravines, that are not otherwise closed, are available for walk through access only.

“Walk through” access means that individuals should pass through, and should not ‘stay and play’, even if they are in a group of less than five people. This is to prevent groups from congregating in green spaces in parks, trails and ravines.

On May 9th, the Ontario Government announced the opening of provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day use, such as Bronte Creek Provincial Park. The first areas will open on May 11th and the remainder will open May 15th. At this time, recreational activities in provincial parks are limited to walking, hiking, biking and bird watching. For consistency, should municipalities agree to open up local parks, recreational activities permitted in Halton region parks could be restricted to walking, hiking, biking and bird watching.  All buildings and facilities in Provincial parks including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches continue to be closed.

Halton Region Public Health encourages residents (who are not self-isolating) to go for a walk, run or bike ride outside in order to stay physically active. We recommend the following in order to stay safe while being active outside:

  • Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) distance from others. You may need to change your route or the time of day that you go out in order to keep this distance.
  • Step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.
  • Do not enter spaces that are barricaded or have signage indicating the area is closed.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home.

— Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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