In response to the COVID pandemic, on April 8, the Government of British Columbia closed all provincial parks – but most regional parks within the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) remained open. Now, as the provincial government is opening parks up throughout British Columbia, the SRD is working on its own plan to reopen remaining regional parks & facilities for public use.
What Does This Mean For Cortes & Quadra?
“All regional parks on Cortes are open, with the exception of the skatepark,” emailed Aniko Nelson, SRD Senior Manager of Community Services.
Aside from the play equipment and tennis courts at Blenkin Park, Quadra Island’s parks are also open.
Nelson explained, “As no provincial directives or public health orders have been issued dictating the closure of municipal and regional parks, each local government is afforded the opportunity to determine which parks and facilities within their jurisdiction may be affected based on compliance with existing directives and orders. The SRD recognizes the importance of access to parks and open space for the public during these times and the health benefits that come from being able to recreate locally. Being fully aware of the role we play, we continue to ensure that we were able to provide recreational opportunities to the public where high touch areas can be avoided and physical distancing adhered to. Each of the parks within the SRD are evaluated based on this criteria and only those deemed high risk are affected by closures or partial closures. The implementation of signage and protocols have allowed all other SRD parks and trails to remain open throughout the provincial state of emergency.”
Island Residents Agree
Curt Cunningham, from Cortes Island, agreed with this policy, “I trust most people to do the right thing and keep their distance.”
To paraphrase a much longer conversation with Quadra Island resident Rod Burns, it was good of the SRD to recognise something they could not have controlled anyway. Power outages and violent wind storms are part of our island existence, and so are our parks. Many find their equilibrium in nature. Our trails lead to a state of inner wellbeing that is not obtainable to someone cooped up within the sixteenth floor of an apartment building.
Timelines For Remaining SRD Facilities
Nelson emailed, “The SRD does not have a date for the opening of facilities currently closed, but is working diligently to be prepared once it is deemed safe to do so. It is likely that the Cortes Skatepark and the Blenkin Tennis Courts will be some of the first facilities to open once appropriate protocols are in place.”
Her press release explained:
“Timelines for opening these outdoor facilities and parks amenities will be based on guidelines and industry standards developed by the Province and the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association. These facilities will only be opened once appropriate signage encouraging physical distancing and proper self-sanitization protocols are in place. Indoor recreation facilities, outdoor fitness equipment and playgrounds remain closed at this time, pending further guidance from the Province.”
Regional Parks On Cortes Island
Nelson directed me to the following Cortes Island Regional Parks, which had remained throughout the COVID crises”
- Blind Creek Boat Launch in Cortes Bay
- Hank’s Beach Forest Conservation Park
- Gnat Park, in Squirrel Cove
- Kw’as Park
- Moon Park
- Seascape Park
- Siskin Forest Park
- Whaletown Commons
Quadra & Read Island Regional Parks
- Blenkin Memorial Park, Quadra Island
- Granite Bay Park, on Quadra Island
- Hoskyn Channel Landing, Quadra Island
- John Kim Nature Sanctuary, Read Island
- Quadra School Garden
Top photo credit: A Douglas squirrel finishes a morsel – while perching on a piece of driftwood at Rebecca Spit, Quadra Island by marneejill via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)